Safed Aetokozo

Indigenous Idu Mishmi Aetokozo woven with cotton | Handspun natural dyed Eri silk


This is a double sided shawl. 

One side is a creative presentation of Aetokozo weaves, traditionally woven with black base. 

The other side is a patchwork of various natural dyed handspun handwoven Eri silk.

Both sides include this beautiful Eri silk collages, including fibre weave textile made with Eri silk, where the yarn is not completely spun into thread, but is woven loose as just single twist yarn.

About Aetokozo

Aetokozo is the name of Idu Mishmi tribe’s male jacket. The weaves of the jacket are composed of a top broad band, followed by a vertical lozenge pattern weave called Abizo, and at the end a consecutive placement of 6 lines or bands representing different motifs of Idu Mishmi weaving craft.

While jo is the term for all motifs, Aphuzoo is the term for border, outline or boundary motifs. Though they are collectively termed Aphuzoo, slight difference in the motif changes their symbolism. 

Eg. In the last of 6 lines, you will observe a zigzag pattern, that motif is called Aphuzoo Tukushua. When the same motif is a single “V” pattern instead of double, it is called Aphuzoo Ataapara, where Ataapara refers to tongs that are used at the fireplace. 

In line 5 and line 3, you will observe a motif similar to English letter “I”, that is referred to as a motif of Aphutubu genre.

In line 1, you will observe a motif similar to “X”, the term for it is Aphuzoo Lokon. Each small stroke of weave is a story within itself.

The main central thicker band is called Enipa Aphuju

In this shawl, the symmetry of the jacket is elaborated into a shawl, extending the length of the vertical band and repeating the patterns at both ends. Aetokozo is not traditionally made with base of white colour. 

With the help of Anjite Menjo, I got an opportunity to work with weavers of Roing, Abali, Hunli, Brinli and Dambuk, involving Anjite’s extended family, as well as expert weavers like Akena Mimi from Brinli/hunli and Adele from Abali. 

An interesting fact revealed when Chamali Milli expressed to me that Idu people have specific motifs for children, teenagers, adults. Upon seeing a motif, the indigenous people can immediately spot the nature of motif. For example, line 6 has motifs meant for adults. Though, in  line 3, central white and red small circle motif is called Praapelobara, which refers to a small bird’s eyes. This motif is suitable more for children. Line 5 has motifs that generally attract teenagers. There is no strict rules about using these motifs specific to different age groups. Though some weavers like to throw in children and teenage motifs into the weaves for adult to add a bit of sweetness. I like these creative liberty of the weavers who remain charming.

This adaptation is a tribute to one of rarest indigenous communities of Arunachal Pradesh, still practicing indigenous belief system of nature worship and Shamanism. Idu Mishmi language has been listed as “definitely endangered” by UNESCO, so I stand in support of this ancient language in repeating these words to you all in the form of names of various weave motifs.

Buyer Empowerments

Eri silk aspect of shawl
Wearable textile made with ancient spinning, weaving and dyeing techniques. Home- reared, Hand spun, hand woven following indigenous methodology.
100 % natural, Protein- based, organic, hand-made, from nature-back to nature. Something to grow old with and then pass it on to loved ones.
Well-being properties
Thermal insulation, Moisture absorption, UV protective, completely bio-degradable.
Idu Mishmi Aetokozo aspect of shawl
Idu Mishmi Aetokozo weaves are made using indigenous textile motif and skill. Involves traditional back strap loom weaving. This is one of my favourite projects for Mora, where weaving Aetokozo with cotton meant bringing cotton yarn from Salem, Tamil Nadu all the way east to Arunachal. This determination is the strongest intrinsic aspect of this textile.
Mill spun mercerised cotton yarn with Azo-free dyeing
The combined aspects of the shawl
One of a kind heirloom from Idu Mishmi community that involves traditional back strap loom weaving.To keep Aetokozo as the central highlight, I decided to keep this Shawl most subtle using hand spun natural dyed Eri silk woven on traditional loom.
Weather/ Mood
Pleasant-not warm not cold. Should give warmth on a slightly nippy evening. Should also protect from blazing Sun.
Not fragile. Even if Eri Silk wears out after much use, you may like to keep Idu Mishmi weaves as a heirloom.
Dry Clean only; Needs “Airing” in shadow, not direct sun. The dyes will experience changes over years of use. That is how nature is. It changes.
Shawl is ready to wear
Slow production of indigenous weaves that are made by artisan at home in available time- supporting farming lifestyle.
Working closely with mothers, creating livelihood for stay at home mothers
Choice of cotton over synthetic yarn for indigenous weaves
No bargaining with artisans. Mutual decision-making.
No deadline/ pressure based work environment.
Supports non-industrial tailoring skills.
Design collaboration with artisans
In support of back strap loom weaving and indigenous culture of Idu Mishmi community
In solidarity with IMCLS mission of cultural preservation
Idu Mishmi weaves made with support of Anjite Menjo, Arunchal Pradesh
Eri Silk made with Narmohan Das, Kamrup, Assam

Stitched by Gurmel Singh, Jalalabad, Punjab
Beadwork by Param, Bathinda, Punjab

Research support by Chamali Milli, Lokha Elapra and Anjite Menjo from Roing, Arunachal Pradesh
Imperfections in the weaves reflect handmade
Irregularity in the dyes reflect natural process
Innocent spots in the textiles reflect being homemade
A work of nature cannot be sterile and error-free
A choice to still buy what we make is a step
Towards supporting original culture
Of people
Of nature
Of craft

A celebration of humanness.
Mora Collective 2023
designed by: MIDTOAN