Krama = Checked Scarf
Dhleah = A Plant Used for Dyeing
Baseth = An Impoverished District in Kampong Speu Province
Apart from silks, we also promote hand-made Dhleah cotton checked scarf (locally known as Krama Dhleah or Krama Baseth, named after the district).
Baseth villagers and weavers normally dye their cotton Krama in Dhleah. For that reason, Krama is popularly known as Krama Dhleah (Krama Dyed in Dhleah). Since only villagers of Baseth weave and dye their cotton Krama in Dhleah, their Krama is named after the district: Krama Baseth (in Khmer) or Baseth Krama (in English).
As part of our mission, we brought a sample of the Baseth scarf whenever we visited a different weaving community across Cambodia. Each time, we asked the weavers if they could produce the same scarf as the one produced by the Baseth weavers. Surprisingly, there was a common confession those weavers had to make. They could not do that. The uniqueness and patterns of Baseth scarf cannot be reproduced by other weavers outside the Baseth district.
(The scarf on the far left is the authentic and very original Krama Baseth, whereas the rest are derivation of the original flavor, though they still maintain the unique locality of Baseth weavers. All are available exclusively at Khmer Artisanry.)
Khmer Artisanry Cotton Products
Years ago, being inspired by the very distinctiveness and uncommon larger size of this Krama (Size: 92cm x 1.9m, with normal Khmer checked scarf being 60cm x 1.85m or smaller), we visited the Baseth district of Kampong Speu. It was also part of our fact-finding mission for the weaving tradition.
At first, we were intrigued to talk to a few weavers who were proud to talk to us about their craft. Though their village stands among the most impoverished in Cambodia and they are poor and desperate, their skills in producing Krama Dhleah is uniquely rich and very traditional.
Nonetheless, we were brokenhearted to the news that even though people kept weaving Krama Dhleah, no one revived the tradition in dyeing their Krama in Dhleah anymore. They abandoned the natural dyeing techniques and resorted to dyeing their crafts in chemicals instead. They said the latter was less time consuming, more convenient, easy, and cheap. The implications of chemical dyes being dumped into our streams and rivers have been taken for granted. Nonetheless, it was ethically improper to put blame on them for their ignorance of the significant impact of cultural loss resulted from the abandonment of this custom. They were just too vulnerable, frustrated and helpless. Being mindful of that among other things, we thought we had to do something to help revive the tradition.
SUCCESSFULLY WE CAN REVIVE KRAMA THLEAH
Now we work with our weavers to produce naturally dyed Baseth scarves. They are very proud to revive this tradition. Over time, they have become even more creative with their crafts. We love diversification and preservation of traditional flavors. With that, we can produce more traditional scarves.
(Baseth scarves are proudly worn and used by the local villagers of Baseth district)
TRADITIONAL KHMER IKAT COTTON SCARVES, 100% COTTON, 100% NATURALLY DYED
Never before had patterns of ikat ever been produced on cotton fabrics. They were commonly produced on silk fabrics. Yet being inspired by creativity and diversification of traditional styles and techniques, our weavers are now taking up a more challenging weaving approach with the production of these naturally dyed and 100% handmade ikat cotton scarves.
Whilst our local producers pride themselves on their ability to handmade these new products, our customers will definitely experience our uniquely local high-quality, every-penny-worth-spending Khmer cotton scarves.
These ikat cotton scarves are exclusively available at Khmer Artisanry.