Sublime Design – Textiles of Arunachal Pradesh
Across Arunachal Pradesh, women practice traditional methods of weaving and textile production in home industry with great dexterity. A means of expressing and preserving their tribal identity, skills are passed from one generation to the next with care and enthusiasm; and the results are as varied and enchanting as the colours of a rainbow.
In West Kameng district, the tribal dress worn by Monpa ladies includes the ‘shingka’, a light red sleeveless gown with white stripes worn with a sash at the waist and the ‘kyanchen toh-thung’, a maroon-coloured long-sleeve shirt which is lavishly embroidered and open to the front. Both pieces are woven using coarse silk thread and require up to a month of work to complete a single garment set.
The crafting and creativity which goes into the whimsical needlepoint patterns featuring animals and flowers could never be replicated by machines.
Home to members of the Adi tribe, Roing village near Pasighat in East Siang district is tiny, comprising just six houses. Yet remarkably, looms are set up in all of them, and women and girls busy themselves weaving ‘galle’, the cotton ankle-length wrap-around skirt typical for the region.
An experienced weaver will need around ten days to complete one ‘galle’ depending on the intricacy of the pattern which is largely geometrical. When finished the skirt measures roughly three meters in length and is a stylish and elegant addition to every woman’s wardrobe.
Through their crafts, women play an essential role in perpetuating the heritage of tribal society.