Tribal Textiles of Arunachal Pradesh


Most tribes in Arunachal Pradesh have a tradition of weaving which is done solely by the women on single-neddle tension or on loin-looms which have a warp of some 6 yards x 18 inches. The woven fabric is thick as the warp is dense and usually covers the weft. The colours and designs are symbolic of the rituals and customs of each tribe and community. The women are very careful about the colours and designs they use while weaving the cloth. Combinations of black, red, and white are prominent, and bold stripes are woven into the fabric by making use of different coloured yarns in the warp. Colours are obtained from natural sources such as the barks, roots, leaves, and seeds of trees and are used alongside synthetic dyes and chemicals. The design may vary from a formal arrangement of lines and bands of colour to elaborate woven patterns in yellows, greens, and scarlet. Generally patterns are symmetrical, as more than one width of the woven fabric is needed to make a garment. Many tribes use special methods for decorating. Woven items include Tudung jackets and shawls of the Sherdukpans, Monpa bags, Apa Tani jackets and scarves, Adi skirts (galle), jackets, bags, and scarves, Mishmi jackets, shawls, bags, and blouses, Wancho bags, loin cloths, and sashes, and Tangsa lungis and bags. Further north, the Monpas, Membas, and Bokers weave woollen jackets, trouser lengths, and blankets.

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