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Naga Phanek

The state of Nagaland in northeast India is inhabited by 16 major tribes. These tribes carry their own folklore depicting the gallant acts of their ancestors. Their traditional attire includes a shawl and “phanek”, a wrap skirt which is tightly wrapped around the waist).

The women folk of Nagaland mainly engage in the spinning of textiles. A woman generally weaves the clothes of her family members. It had been a custom in Nagaland that every girl who attains the age of marriage should be able to spin and weave.

Generally the process of spinning is simple with the use of basic tools. After being cleaned off its seeds, the cotton gets rolled gently by hands using a round stick on a flat stone. The typical Naga spindle is a primitive device and spinning is quite a time-consuming task.

The Naga loom is often called the Indonesian tension loom and is comprised of a back strap with a continuous warp that contains six sticks which function like the warp beam, stick, lease rod, beating sword and extra warp beam.

The Nagas are very particular about the costumes they don at social ceremonies and on occasions. The design patterns and color vary between the tribes, and also at times between different villages. The most traditional designs and motifs include stripes, straight lines, bands and squares, all varying in color, width and arrangement.

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