How the Chakhesang Naga community weaves a world of meaning into a shawl

This Article First Appeared In The Scroll On Sep 13, 2023

This vivid excerpt is from Naga Path, the memoir of the British anthropologist and World War II guerrilla Ursula Bower Graham, who documented the lives and labours of Naga communities in the 1930s and ’40s. Though her description of a weaving centre is almost a century old, the art of weaving remains a significant aspect of the culture and identity of the Naga people. “For the Nagas…textiles are not simply cloths but are repositories of world views, meanings, and narratives….[and] bear much of the community’s ideologies, values and beliefs in tangible form…,” writes Thingminao Horam, a doctoral scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, in her 2021 essay Weaving Resistance and Identity: Politics of Contemporary Textile Practice of the Tangkhuls.

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