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.
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.