History & Culture

This exhibition brings crafts persons and weavers from North East to Chennai

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Treasures from the North East, an exhibition by CCIC, provides a glimpse of weaves and crafts of the region

“For the people of Nagaland, the jewellery they adorn themselves with is a mark of identity, and even today, the necklace is an integral part of their everyday life. We have also started designing our jewellery to suit contemporary outfits and lifestyles. Today, it is only the brides who wear tribal traditional jewellery from head to toe,” says Pamringla Vashum, who along with a group of artisans has come to Chennai to participate in the exhibition, Treasures from the North East, organised by the Central Cottage Industries Corporation of India, (CCIC) — an organisation under the Ministry of Textiles.

Naga jewellery is handcrafted with seeds, precious stones, animal bones, fish bones and glass beads. Pamringla, who belongs to the Tangkhul Naga tribe, presents handwoven traditional Naga shawls, wrap-around skirts and western wear. “I work with the weaving community in Chingjaroi village in Manipur, where every woman is trained in back strap weaving. In our community, men do not weave, and women do not go hunting. From the age of five, we train girls in weaving,” she says. They never buy fabric; women in the family weave them instead. “Naga textiles are characterised by longitudinal stripes and lines. The motifs you find in our weaving are of plaits, sun rays and crickets; the colour scheme is red, black, white and green.”

The quintessential gamchha — a traditional thin, coarse cotton towel, always with a checked design — is available at the fair in a wide range of colour combinations and sizes. “Muga silk, moirang phee handlooms and gamchha have got the GI tag and we take great pride that Assam is the only region where muga silk is manufactured,” says Susant Phukan, who has displayed some of his resplendent and regal sari collections in eri, muga (also known as ahimsa silk), mulberry and nooni silks, and moirang phee. “All my collections are hand-spun, hand-woven and use natural dyes. We have traditional designs, but we are also developing fusion saris and I also combine two different silks in one sari.”

Paromita Baruah, who runs Rini’s Boutique in Guwahati, is on her maiden visit to the city with a range of affordable mekhela chadar sets with blouse material. Sabya Barman, the master weaver from Assam, flaunts his Kaziranga-themed handloom cotton saris with pride — his 100 rhino-motif sari is a best-seller. He also has limited editions of padmini silk saris.

The exhibition has a whole range of bamboo products, from beer mugs to modas and baskets, made by Dheeraj Rajbhangshi. Water reed baskets by V Laishipem are worth the investment, as they retain their shape after being washed. Sarojini Devi’s colourful woollen shawls, balaclavas and scarves are a big draw too.

For those interested in gardening, the fair has a collection of bamboo planters and creatively designed garden accessories. Vijaya Biswa from Meghalaya, a master craftsperson who specialises in softwood, palm leaf and all natural dry flower making, offers his collection here.

Artisans from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura are participating in this fair, supported by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region.

The exhibition is on at Central Cottage Industries Emporium, Nandanam, from 10.30 am to 7.30 pm, till January 15. Call 9445421968.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 3:54:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/this-exhibition-brings-crafts-persons-and-weavers-from-north-east-to-chennai/article30503807.ece

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