Friday, May 10, 2013

The Origins of the Pha Sin

Oh the mystery!  Pha Sin (pronounced pa seen) are the handmade skirts, often made of silk, that are worn by Lao women.  It has an interesting origin story.  Though it's more of a legend I would say.  And whether there's any truth to it, I suppose no one exactly knows.  However, one legend says this...

Beer Lao Calendar Model 2011 - showing Lao textiles
Photo Credit:  Beer Lao Calendar 2011

From the Phra Lak-Phra Lam which is the Lao version of the epic Indian story of the Ramayana:

Nan Kasirajdita, the wife of Bari is wounded in a duel with the buffalo Dvorahbi.  She rolls naked on the ground since her skirt (sin) is torn to pieces.  People reassemble these pieces, and adding some new pieces they make a new skirt.  The art of making beautiful skirts with several pieces dates from that event.*

* Reference:  The Ramayana in Laos - A Study in the Gvay Dvorahbi by Sachchidanand Sahai.  Page 5 (infra. page 48-49).

What are your thoughts on that?  Any other theories?  Please feel free to comment below.

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