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  • Place of origin:

    Kayah State (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered ribbed cotton cloth with cotton

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

These baggy knee length trousers, gathered at the waist by means of a tying cord, would have been worn by a Yinbaw man with a waist coat or a short, long-sleeved jacket. The pants are elaborately embroidered with stripes and festoons and small balls on a red ground. Swinging tassels decorate the lower part of of the garment. They were collected by Sir James George Scott, the great British scholar and colonial administrator, during his sojourn in Burma in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Yinbaw are a sub-group of the Karens of Kayah State, who farm in the valleys of this rugged mountain region in eastern Burma next to the Thai border. Though now largely Christian, the Yinbaw were traditionally animists and continue once a year to gather at the spirit festival called Kathowbow, which is celebrated to ensure good luck and prevent famine or illness in the coming year.

Physical description

Pair of men's trousers of red embroidered cotton with attached tassels. Baggy knee length. Tailored from four rectangular strips of ribbed cloth stitched at the sides, front and back, and with an inset forming the crotch. The embroidery, in tiny stitches in white, green, yellow and blue, form stripes and festoons worked on a scarlet ground. The trousers are further decorated with small balls of white cotton thread arranged in rows, from many of which hang in groups of brightly coloured strips of cotton braid. Gathered at the waist by means of tying strings.

Place of Origin

Kayah State (made)


ca. 1900 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Embroidered ribbed cotton cloth with cotton


Length: 57.5 cm waist to hem, Width: 57.5 cm waist, Length: 22 in approx., Width: 22 in waist, excluding tying strings

Object history note

Pair of trousers of a man of the Yinbaw tribe of Kayah State, Burma.

Descriptive line

Pair of men's trousers of embroidered cotton, Kayah State, ca. 1900

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

pp.214-213, ill.
Dress in detail from around the world / Rosemary Crill, Jennifer Wearden and Verity Wilson ; with contributions from Anna Jackson and Charlotte Horlyck ; photographs by Richard Davis, drawings by Leonie Davis. London: V&A Publications, 2002 Number: 1851773770 (hbk), 1851773789 (pbk)

Production Note

Attribution note: The tassels scattered over the lower part of the leg appear to be of European manufacture.


Cotton; Dye


Weaving; Embroidery


Textiles; Men's clothes; Embroidery


South & South East Asia Collection

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