Karen Shirt

Thai Tribal Textile

€ 39,90

Handmade traditional cotton shirt from the animistic Karen tribe, who live for a large part in Burma, but also in Thailand, often as refugee for the ongoing civil war.
This shirt is made by Karen female refugees in a camp in Northeast Thailand, and dyied with colors from natural sources. They were paid fair and directly for this product.

With buying this product you directly support the Karen tribe.

About the Karen

The Karen, also known as the Kayin, Kariang or Kawthoolese, reside primarily in Kayin State, southern and southeastern Myanmar. Many Karen have migrated to Thailand, having settled mostly on the Myanmar–Thailand border.
Karen refers to a heterogeneous lot of ethnic groups that do not share a common language, culture, religion, or material characteristics.
The majority of Karen are Theravada Buddhists who also practice animism, while approximately 15–30 percent are Christian.

Karen animism is defined by a belief in ကလ (k'lar) translating as soul, thirty-seven spirits that embody every individual. Misfortune and sickness are believed to be caused by k'lar that wander away, and death occurs when all thirty-seven k'lar leave the body.

Crop rotation agriculture has been a part of Karen culture for at least several hundred years.

The Karen are a very musical people. An aexample of their traditional music culture is the the 'Don dance'. "Don" roughly translates to "in agreement". The dance is a series of uniform movements accompanied by music played from traditional Karen instruments. During the performance, a "Don Koh" leads the troupe of dancers.
Another example is the 'Sae Klee Dance' or bamboo dance, held during celebrations such as Christmas and New Year. Performers are typically divided into two groups. One group creates a platform by holding bamboo sticks in a checkered pattern, while the other group dances on top of the platform.
The date of the Karen New Year on the Gregorian calendar varies as the Karen people use the lunar calendar. The Karen New Year usually falls on a date in December or January on the Gregorian calendar.

Karen insurgent groups, led primarily by the Karen National Union (KNU), have waged war against the Burmese government since early 1949. The original aim of the KNU was to create an independent Karen homeland called Kawthoolei, but since 1976 they have shifted towards calling for a federal system in Myanmar instead.

  • Size: 64 x 54 cm
  • Wash by hand separately
  • Made from cotton