Av Pak

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An embroided in green thread shirt, Av Pak is now a popular style in Khmer fashion.

Av Pak (Khmer: អាវប៉ាក់ also pronounced Aao Pak ) is a traditional blouse dress worn by females of all ages in Cambodia; the name literally translates as embroidery shirt. They are mostly made of silk embroidered with plain stamped cotton. With the highly share common from Indonesia's Kebaya, the blouse always embroidered with several elaborate gold-thread all around the part of the blouse. It always worn with Sampot Hol,[1] showing the more formal and elegant of its gold thread for Khmer tradition. However, Sarong still frequently used by Muslim ethnic like Cham and Java in the country.

In general, Av Pak was recognize to Khmer people as modern classical suit today due to the embroidery had introduced to Cambodia long times ago but the blouse is reach its peak to Khmer people during the early 21st century, when the blouse had represent to Cambodian as the national costume, high class dress and comfortable suit than previously ancient upper garment such as Av Bopock, a tube shirt but like more as the long dress which most of Khmer lady stopped wearing it cause of their embarrassing and made them look like a Cham people [2] and Sabai, a shawl like shoulder cloth kept its fashionable, traced back the Khmer Empire era but lost its popularity today according to the thoughts of this cloth showed too skin, naked one shoulder which impacted the graceful of women.[3]


Av Pak was totally influenced from Kebaya of Indonesia in the way its decoration, material using and style, followed the original craft from its origin. No trace had been found if this blouse was invented during Angkor period due to most Angkorian always had top exposed.

A Traditional Fashion Runnaway of Cambodian, joined by several model in the costume worn during Lovek period. In the photo, The Lady at the left behind the man, is worn as the earliest form of Av Pak with Chang Kben.

Av Pak was look forward to introduced at the late of Chatomok era and heavily import to the country in the Flourish of Lovek region between the 14th and 15th centuries. The main premise is said to the Port trading between Cambodia and Majapahit kingdom came to its peak. The costume also associated with Muslim one by one when The Fall of Champa, left thousand of Cham people to settle down in Cambodia, brought with them their Craft, Art and especially Embroidery, the main skill for producing each Av Pak . As its illustration that the clothing of the country during Lovek period was on the Java wave concluded on the main fashion such as Av Bopock (tube shirt). Their Kebaya had its greater to Cambodian Clothing at that times but unlike them, The influenced of Kebaya to Cambodian's shirt was not combination but separated to their own in three main difference which Av Pak was among the one. The Kebeya which introduced to The Khmer court, worn usually by the primary Queen was baju kebaya, transformed to Av Sarabap as its material was Sampot Charabap with the same decoration style along the Pleat. Another form was "nyonya kebaya" which its arrival to Cambodia came from Portuguese adventurers in the late 16th century. This Style had changed to Khmer version known as Av Tneal Pkal according to its Pleat was on the fringle like flower up from Collar to the end of shirt. Finally, popular Av Pak had its origin from The Kebaya worn in Java, Bali and Sunda which retained strongly on Embroidery like Av Pak. The Earliest Av Pak in Cambodia was the white shirt with the long arm but no pleat like T shirt with the whole part of clothes were in Embroidery upon the Silk, a bit similar to the Sweater. It usually worn by rich lady but as Began in Embroidery, most of blouse part were Slender, easily to show skin. So The Part from Chest to Stomach always embroidered very tangle, attachable and narrow to known that this part was no showing skin. However, to be more conscientiously kept their title, the lady usually used an expensive Fabric in Pidan for more wealthy, wrapped around their chest hold with gold or silver pin at the tob of its joint. This original forms then transfer to had Pleat at the front like Kebaya for decreased its too body-hugging and more formal for old lady to worn it when took offering to Pagoda. The Av Pak then lost its reputation during the next period due to the war and influenced from Siam and Vietnam in forcing.

Six favorite court lady of king Sisowath worn different forms of Kebaya influenced. From left to right, the first two worn the Form of Av Pak, followed by one worn Av Sarabap with the next two were in Nyonya Kebaya influenced, Av Tneal Pkal and ends with one was sitting in her beautiful Av Sarabap.

During Cambodia Colonial of France, The first photographic evidence of Av Pak had found, showed Court ladys of king Sisowath, worn those three form of Kebaya influenced. With six of them, each two worn one style. The Av Pak, the two lady worn may have been influenced from Europe according to the bloat short arm. Either than them, Nobody known to worn the Shirt. However, The Countrysider still installed The Pleat Av Pak into Their livelihood's clothing in some formal day.

After Post-Independence Cambodia, Av Pak had survived, worn by Some Actress in their Delegation at some special occasion but it lead no famous among its female wearer, defeated by a popular fashion of that era were The Brassiere which developed into the amount of model.

However, After the fall of Khmer rouge, in late 20th century and early 21st century, The Av Pak had introduced strongly to public after an Unknown Tailor had brought an Av Pak into a cultural show. Becoming The golden age of Av Pak, all form of the blouse from the ex period had revived in the same times convert its self into the huge number of fashion style, listed about all tailors house in the country already respect Av Pak into their sewing and Already made dress job. Today, Av Pak has the important role in Fashion for worn in Special Occasion, Traditional Festival and Some Cultural show.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reflections of a Khmer Soul By Navy Phim, p.52
  2. ^ Seams of Change, by Reyum p.25
  3. ^ Seams of Change, by Reyum p.71

External links[edit]