The Success Story of “Nan Neau Jao”
DASTA supports local textiles of Nan province by developing the “Nan Neau Jao” brand, reflecting the cultural identity of the community while improving their quality of living and generating sustainable income.
“Nan Neau Jao” is a local textile brand receiving interest and positive feedback from both international and domestic tourists. This is due to the unique patterns and background story of Nan textiles which, coupled by their high quality, create exceptional value.
“Nan Neau Jao” was formed by the collaboration of the following four handwoven textile communities: Hong Jao Fong Kham Handwoven Textile Group, Nai Wiang Subdistrict; Ban Sao Luang Handwoven Textile Group, Bo Suak Subdistrict; Ban Na Pong Pattana Handwoven Textile Group, Na Sao Subdistrict; and Ban Chiang Rai Career Development Group, Du Tai Subdistrict. Each textile group applies the “Sinh” traditional pattern on their textiles, while also developing new patterns to create additional market value. Thus, “Nan Neau Jao” is a brand inspired by the desire to preserve the authentic culture of Nan province.
Suksant Pengdith, Manager of Designated Area 6 under the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Public Organization), or DASTA, shares the inspiration behind the “Nan Neau Jao” brand. The brand was founded by joint efforts between four women textile groups which seek to create job opportunities and income for the community by applying their knowledge and specialized skills. By elevating Nan handwoven textiles into a brand, the community is able to strengthen their local skills while preserving and developing their textile factories. These household factories serve as handwoven textile learning centers, becoming one of the tourist activities which contribute to improving the people’s quality of living.
Mr. Suksant Pengdith
“Handwoven textile workshops start with forming threads from cotton flowers. Visitors will develop experiences in handling the cotton seeds, creating and spinning the threads, applying natural dye, weaving the textile, and creating patterns unique to each community. The basic textile patterns are the “Man Pattern,” “Pong Pattern,” “Chiang Saen Pattern,” “Water Pattern,” and the “Eight-Petaled Flower Pattern.” The latter pattern reflects the local belief of the people, that the eight petals symbolize protection for the owner of the textile.
Nan handwoven textiles reflect the identity and artistic style of the locals, projecting the town’s history of over 700 years on the unique patterns of the cloth. The textiles provide job opportunities and revenue for the community, while preserving the cultural heritage for the new generation who are passionate for handwoven textiles.
The women-led “Nan Neau Jao” brand won the PATA Gold Awards 2020 under the Women Empowerment Initiative of the Pacific Asia Travel Association. Besides underscoring the success of the women textile groups, the award brings pride to Thailand and Nan province. Moreover, the award motivates the textile groups to continue developing their brand to receive recognition in a broader market.
Pattraporn Prabripu, the heir of “Chao Fong Kham (a noble family of Nan province)” and owner of the “Chao Fong Kham Estate,” states that the house’s facilities were renovated to serve as a handwoven textile factory. The factory serves as a center of handwoven textiles, where products are made and workshops are organized for tourists. The estate belongs to the Chao Fong Kham family, which are noble descendants from the ruler of Nan. Today, the Chao Fong Kham estate serves as a tourist attraction and handwoven textile center – a living museum sharing the heritage of the province.
Hong Chao Fong Kham is renowned for the “Water Droplet Textile Pattern,” which is developed from the “ancient water pattern.” The signature pattern requires time-honored weaving, taking as long as 22 days to complete. The estate also produces other textile patterns to support the “Nan Neau Jao” brand. Textiles are also presented in exhibitions for public display, along with the history of the Chao Fong Kham family.
Wallapha Inpong, Vice President of Ban Sao Luang Community Enterprise, states that the enterprise consists of the local women of the community who invented the “Bo Suak Textile Pattern.” The pattern serves as the community’s exclusive and signature design. It was inspired from the ancient patterns on clay pots discovered near the Bo Suak Kiln. The full name of the pattern is “Bo Suak Water Pattern.”
The community also created other contemporary textile patterns, which can be classified into two categories. The first category includes patterns for wearing in daily life, in which the patterns are not complex. The second category is for wearing during religious ceremonies, which involves complex and detailed patterns. The patterns also vary according to the status of the owner. The golden and silver threads highlight the prestige of the wearer. Handwoven textiles, or Sinhs, have design components symbolized by the human anatomy. A piece of Sinh consist of the “head,” the “body,” and the “feet.”
Puangthong Sutthijinda, the Secretary of the Ban Chiang Rai Career Development Group, states that the group specializes in crafting the “Ta Kong” pattern. The pattern was originally used for designing loincloths and blankets, with the local belief of providing protection over the owner from all harm. The locals developed their weaving techniques to incorporate three vertical threads, which prevents discoloration and adding the necessary texture for creating a variety of products. Seeing the uniqueness and potential of the “Ta Kong” pattern, DASTA collaborated with the community to develop over 30 products, including tablecloths, placemats, keychains, hotel sofa covers, and coin bags.
“Nan Nuea Jao” continues developing its local handwoven textiles to showcase in the global market.