Hand-loomed fabrics have been integral to Bhutanese culture for centuries and remain the country's most distinctive art form. Bhutanese textiles, especially the intricate brocades and complex supplementary weft patterns, are unmatched anywhere in the world.

Gifts of cloth are offered at birth and death, and during auspicious occasions such as weddings. Each region has a specialized design: Bumthang, for example, is known for its vegetable dyed wool weaves called yathra, and its exquisite pure silk weavings; Lhuentse is renowned for kishuthara.

Weavers, mostly women in remote communities, pride themselves on being able to create textiles that reflect a visually stunning combination of colour, texture, pattern and composition. Traditional skills remain highly valued in Bhutan. Indeed a new Textile Academy will open in the capital, Thimpu, in 2012. 

Rinzin Chophel has collected and traded Bhutanese textiles since the late 1970s. His integrity and knowledge are highly respected, and his pieces are prized by collectors. Read about Rinzin's background and long connections with Bhutanese textiles.