Chiang Mai was the most important administrative centre of Lanna, ruled by the seven noblemen until consolidated as part of Siam or Thailand. Nowadays, being the historical area makes Chiang Mai has many unique traditional culture identities, and the most outstanding one is the traditional costume of women in Chiang Mai “Phasin”
There were 2 types of the most popular Phasin or a wraparound skirt of Chiang Mai in the past. “Sin Ta” and “Sin teen Jok” were used to call each pattern of Thai-Yuan’s heritable Phasin. Phasin consists 3 parts in general, which are 1. Tua-sin (the body of Pasin), 2. Teen-sin (the bottom of Phasin), and Hua-sin (the top of Phasin). Ordinary, “Teen-Jok” consisted of 2 pieces of fabric, the white one seamed with the red one; it could be a long piece of red or black fabric sometimes. Most of Phasin’s body was stripes which called “Ta” or “Garn” line and the bottom of Phasin weaved from dark red, brown, or black textile. For Pha sin Teen Jok, the bottom of it made with high technical weaving by using various colors of textile, alternating silver silk and gold silk to form a refined traditional artwork which refers to a taste of the owner or the weaver. Moreover, the different pattern of Phasin also demonstrates the different identity of each area which may be influenced by the various of aesthetic perception or the textile materials. People can find these traditional Phasin Teen Jok in the downtown of Chiang Mai (Viang Chiang Mai), Amphoe San pah tong, Amphoe Chomthong, Amphoe Mae Jaem, Amphoe Hod, and Amphoe Doi Tao.
The pattern of Phasin Teen Jok in Viang Chiang Mai may be observed from a heritable fabric of Na Chiang Mai family, a wealthy family of Chiang Mai, and other fabric collectors. It is the Phasin consists of a white, red, or black piece which made of high quality british’ cotton with printed or velvet fabric as a top. The body of Phasin can be weaved of cotton and silk from China which is so much thin and small but strong. Some people call this small and thin Chinese silk as “Mai Yoom Diaw” which means be able to grab the total of Phasin in one fist. Additionally, for Phasin from women in the court, the body part shows the stripe design alternated with a tiny flower design that made of gold silk for the entire of it. The way of making this Phasin must employ professional skill of weaver and precious textile material, so this kind of fabric becomes rare in these days.
The body of Phasin in court’s lady from a photo of princess U-bonwan shows a part of the bottom made of the refined silk, it can be the entire of silk or the mixed silk made with Jok technique, inserting silk in various colors with silver silk, gold silk; and Laeng or golden paper bound with cotton. “Kome” or the rhombus is a standard pattern for Jok design, it is the biggest lines in the top two rows, a lower row usually is a design of “Nok Khu Gin Nam Ruam Ton”, and the lowest row is the black pattern of “Hang Sa Pao”. The traditional Phasin Jok commonly has red base area which called “Leb Sin”
In the late age of Rama V to Rama VII, the preferring of color-matched dressing caused the several of Leb Sin color such as blue, purple, magenta, green, etc., for suiting the color of Phasin’s body. So, Phasin Teen Jok identity in Viang Chiang Mai is the standard pattern for other royal people.