Khoma is colourful with kishu thara. All Khoma women and girls weave – young girls weave simple pieces, and older ones weave kishu thara.
Girls as young as 7, many of them school-going, join their parents to weave. Except during the rice cultivation season, Khoma thrives with weavers.
Pem Dechen, 24, now a skilled kishu thara weaver, started weaving when she was 11. Some other weavers started weaving at a even younger age. Tsheten Lhamo, 23, picked up weaving when she was 7 as did her friend, Sangay Choden. Tshering Yangchen, 21, learnt the art at 8. “We knew weaving but not the ones like kishu thara but easier ones like that,” said Tshetan Lhamo, pointing at a table cloth that her friend was weaving.
According to the weavers, most weavers take between 2 and 3 years to master weaving lungserma and kishu thara. Khoma weavers weave a variety of textile including mentse mathra and aii kapoor. Bumthang mathra is the only textile they don’t weave because weaving it requires thritha (pedal loom) whereas they only use back strap loom.
Weaving kishu thara is the main source of income in Khoma. “What we earn from farming can hardly sustain us through the year,” said Tshering from Khoma. In winter, women weave while men look after cattle and collect fuel wood.
Most women in the village weave for commercial purpose but some weave for their own use. According to the villagers, kishu thara is much sought after by Thimphu residents. Recently, hand-woven textile from Khoma have attracted some tourists too.
The price of a silk kisu thara ranges from Nu 30,000 to Nu 60,000. If the waft, weft or pattern is not silk, the price is much lower. But the price mainly depends on the intricacy of patterns used.
Among men’s dresses, lungserma is the costliest. 3 pieces of lungserma (which make a gho) cost up to Nu 60,000. Tourists usually pay between Nu 20,000 and Nu 25,000 for a piece. A piece of table cloth costs Nu 1000.
Khoma weavers use different kinds of yarns which they buy from the shops in Lhuentse or the dealer in Khoma. According to the yarn dealer in Khoma, about Nu 90,000 worth of yarn is sold in a year. Seshu or silk, the most expensive yarn, costs Nu 2,500 per kilogram.