The Stab-stitched Binding of Tai Manuscripts

A Survey of History, Technique, and Function

  • Agnieszka Helman-Ważny University of Hamburg
  • Direk Injan Chiang Mai Rajabhat University
  • Khamvone Boulyaphonh Buddhist Archives of Luang Prabang
  • Volker Grabowsky University of Hamburg


This article discusses various aspects of stab-stitched binding in manuscripts of Laos and Northern Thailand, dealing with various binding patterns of this format, their function and the social history context of their production. The eighteen bound manuscripts from the collections of the Buddhist Archives in Luang Prabang, Laos, and the Chiang Mai Rajabhat University Library in Thailand were selected for detailed study. Provenance, category of text, function, bookbinding style, form and materials used were all considered for this study. Both historical and scientific methods were combined to better understand the provenance of this binding style, as well as the functional and historical aspects of these manuscripts.


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Nan Savaeng, son of Mai Saengkham, the local healer from Pak Chaek village, by telephone on 21 August 2020.
Nan Pan, the ceremonial master from Pak Chaek village, by telephone on 21 August 2020.