Bhutan’s weaving tradition is rich in mythology. Tales and songs describe the art of weaving, linking the skill to goddesses and princesses who introduced the tradition. While men execute many Bhutanese crafts, weaving is a tradition that is almost exclusively a creation of women who have been responsible for clothing the family. Many rural women weave for an alternative source of income.
Hand woven textiles are prized for their natural vegetable colours and for their vibrant and lively motifs inspired by nature as well as spiritual symbols. Woven in raw and fine silk, cotton, and wool, they are not just worn, but used as special gifts on occasions like births, marriages, promotions and religious ceremonies.
Despite the growing influence of global fashion, tradition weaving earns many women a decent living. Dress is an important aspect of all occasions and festivals and element of the Bhutanese identity.