Reprinted by permission of Tashi Delek, Druk Air Magazine
Recently Julia Brennan, an American textile expert conducted an intensive training workshop to equip the staff of Textile Museum, Thimphu and National Museum, Paro with the basic knowledge of textile preservation. The technique of sewing in repairing of any textile is entirely different from normal sewing.
“The absence of a proper conservation technique could lead to the disappearance of many priceless handlooms of the country,” said Singye Dorji, Director, Textile Museum. Therefore the workshop was conducted to equip the museum staff with basic knowledge in textile preservation.
With the knowledge gained at the workshop and using imported threads, needles, and expensive nets, Karma Jamtsho repaired an ancient and priceless silk mul ti choegho of the Tsamdra Goemba in Chukha.
Mul ti choegho, believed to have been once in the possession of Zhabrung Jigme Dorje (1905-1931) was in poor condition. “The cloth was taken out once in a year so that the devotees could get its blessings but actually they damaged it by rubbing their hands on it,” said Singye Dorjee. The silk cloth was stored tightly folded in a suitcase for the rest of the year which caused more damage to it. The repaired mul ti choegho will be placed in a specially designed steel trunk.
The museum has about 1000 textiles in its collection and most of them need repair. “The cost of repair is expensive but its worth allt he money because the Museum is conserving an important part of Bhutanese history,” said a tourist.
The Getty Grant Program and the Friends of Bhutan Culture, and American based organization funded the workshop and conservation project.