Dresses and ornaments of the natives of NE India : The TRC people
Dr Budha Kamei
Contd from previous issue
To avoid such awakened scene as loosening or falling of loin cloth, Pheisoi, the TRC woman put on a belt around the waist.
Besides serving as a belt, the use of the garment over the inner loin cloth is encouraged with an aesthetic sense.
The matter of moral value is also depicted in the distribution of the stripe pattern of Pheisoi. This is again connected with the difference in cultural value attached to the colors of the Pheisoi. The brighter colors are prescribed for the youngsters while the fainted ones are for the aged. The associated symbolism in the brighter color is the source of sexual attraction, excitement and potentiality for a female in the prime of her life.
Aesthetic values have referred to beauty in itself and its application to arts and the nature.
It may be observed in loin cloth locally known as Langjin Pheisoi which has backdrop of grey color supported by broad red borders on the two horizontal sides. The border has woven embroidery by interlacing of multicolor yarn. Tassels are hanged over the woven embroidery along the weft. These works are apparently the attempts of the artisan to express her skill and originality in the best possible manner. The butterfly motif on the body of this garment can be vividly seen in the form of its most possible concrete expression.
The ornaments woven by them not only meant for beautification of the body are also employed to protect themselves against human predators and wild animals while venturing in the deep forest in search of food or hunting. The sewed of conch shells adorned as necklace are sometime used for breaking the teeth of the wild animals while fighting them or beating them off.
Tadu commonly worn by unmarried girls as Bracelet is big, and heavy. Sometimes, it is used as instruments against the human predators and wild animals.
Like any other culture, the TRC culture expresses the sense of beauty also vividly in their various patterns of designs of weaving, embroidery and appliqué works color combinations and various mode of wearing the dresses. The choice of color is a matter of aesthetic considerations.
Red is the symbol of valor and strength, white is the symbol of simplicity, humility and gravity, and black is the symbol of darkness and cruelty. In ritual aspect, traditional clothes have religious functions. For instance, when a child is sick, Pheisoi of the mother is used as shawl to cover the body in order to protect from the evil forces; it is believed that evil forces scare and dislike the Pheisoi. Thread of Langjin is also used as an article in the ritual of warding off the evil forces.
After observing the above facts, we can say that the TRC women have the enough knowledge and skill of weaving and making the dresses and ornaments since ancient time.
Because they have distinct dresses and ornaments for daily use, festivals, marriage, prayer and death ceremony. And there are separate dresses for old, young and children. Mode of wearing of loin cloth also expresses the status of women. Moral and aesthetic values are reflected in their dresses and ornaments.
It is a fact that material culture of dress and ornament of the TRC people had the functional value of organizing the civil society of the people during their historical days, helping in strengthening its moral, aesthetic and ideological foundations.
1 Kamei, Gangmumei. 2004. The Zeliangrong Nagas from Makhel to Rani Gaidinlu, Akansha Publishing House, New Delhi. p. 303.
2 Brown, R. Statistical Account of Manipur. New Delhi. p. 23.
4 Ghosh, G. K. 1992. Tribals and their culture Manipur and Nagaland. Vol. III, Delhi: Ashish Publishing House, p. 67.
5 Roy, J. 1973. History of Manipur. Imphal, p.194.
6 Hodson, T.C.1996. Op.cit. p.34.
7 Brown, R. Op.cit. p.23.
9 Kahmei, N. 1995. The Zeliangrong Nagas in Manipur: Past and Present. Vol. III,
(Nagas & Kuki-chin), Naorem Sanajaoba (ed.). New Delhi: Mittal Publications, p.413.
11 Brown, R. Op.cit. p. 29.
12 Interview with Mrs. Makudaru Kabuini (60). Langthabal Khoupum, Imphal West District on 15 th November. 2013.