Angela Cincotta, a colleague here at the ANU, has just shown me these two examples of woven textiles from Laos. She says:
They’re both from Sekong province in southeastern Laos. The sarong is from Kaleum district, a very remote district bordering on Vietnam. It could be twenty or so years old and was definitely worn, but the woman who sold it to me couldn’t remember when it was woven. It was made on a traditional back-strap loom by an ethnic Nge woman. The other piece was made for commercial purposes and bought in the provincial capital of Sekong. I think it’s also ethnic Nge, but it could be Katu. It was also done on a traditional Mon-Khmer style loom but obviously doesn’t use traditional dimensions for clothing.
Dr Andrea Gaynor, a lecturer in History at the University of Western Australia has sent these examples, with the following observations:
I believe works of this type are traditionally produced by the Nge people. Both were bought in Sekong, in southern Laos, in December 2001. Although far from an expert in such matters, I would guess that the black cloth in the image below is around 30 years old: the fabric has deteriorated, and it was relatively expensive (purchased from a small stall selling various old stuff). The other is a contemporary production, bought in the local market (where it was found among other sarongs probably intended primarily for local use). The area is not especially touristy (only one small place to stay), but it’s possible the more recent weavings incorporate the helicopter designs because they are perceived as collectable.