Assam: A Journey Through its Textiles
Krishna Sarma, Savitha Suri and Shaheen Desai
  • ISBN : 9789389231397
  • year : 2019
  • language : English
  • binding : Hardbound
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An invaluable illustrated history of assam’s rich textile traditions. For centuries, Assam has been a melting pot of peoples ‘living museum of man’. Northeast India is an ethnic mosaic consisting of different tribal groups of various ethnic stocks, each with their own dialect, traditional customs and practices. Bodos represent nearly half of the tribal population, followed by mishing, karbis, rabha, sonowal kachari, lalung, and de or is. The other smaller tribes are chutia, Moran, sonowal, mech, tiwa (lalung), Garo, sarania, hajong, Tripuri, de or I, thengal, hojai, and Koch. In this multicultural constellation, textiles are an important point of reference. The spinning and handloom weaving tradition has a deep history and ancestry in Assam. Textiles are an important reference and idiom for a culture where it is produced as an everyday activity in households and are worn by community members universally. The silks intrinsic to Assam (muga, Yeti, and pact), the typical handlooms and backstrap looms, the distinctive woven designs, and the characteristic modes of dress are expressions of the intangible heritage of Assam. The traditional dress of Assamese women is the two-pieced mekhela and chador and for ceremonial occasions, a third item called riha. For formal occasions, people wear a headdress like the Bodo joke. The ubiquitous gamosha (white with red design) can be used both as a headdress as well as a utilitarian scarf. While written records are sparse, the oral traditions, folklore, music and the continuing and living traditions are testimony to the vibrant weaving practices and distinctive design heritage of Assam. Assam: a journey through its textiles serves an invaluable purpose in documenting through a meticulously researched text and more than 150 stunning photographs, the history of the textiles and tribes of this north-eastern state. The book is published in association with the me era women weavers’ association. Established in 2016, The association is a not-for-profit public company with the twin objectives of documenting and preserving the Silkworm rearing, design, and weaving culture of Assam and providing a cooperative and commercially profitable platform for women weavers. The association is named after justice me era Sharma, the first woman in Northeast India to become a practising lawyer and a judge of the Guwahati high Court (1989–99).