is a Sanskrit
word, and the name given to diagrams which act as representations
of the divine and as aids to meditation.
In Thailand and Burma, however, they are also called ‘yan’
and relate to invulner-ability and magical powers. Drawn by
spirit doctors or special monks directly on the body as tattoos
or on highly idiosyncratic, talismanic textiles, these diagrams
are imbued with considerable meaning and power.
As textiles, they can be in the form of simple squares
or rectangles, or as clothing worn by men, usually shirts
or pants. No longer worn by the men in Thailand, who prefer
tattoos and amulets, these pieces represent an important,
but disappearing, textile genre, and pieces of this quality
and condition are not easy to find.
For more information please see Susan Conway's Silken Threads Lacquer Thrones
; River Books 2002; pp.80-84.