Weaves by Tai Khampti indigenous weavers | Handspun handwoven Myrobalan dyed Eri Silk | Malkha
Spoken for

Drape to Pallu is an intricate extension of kes motif woven by Tai khampti weavers.

To give homage to these beautiful weaves, I extended the canvas to the Sari form using Myrobalan dyed handspun handwoven Eri Silk along with patches of Malkha.

Living with Tai Khampti families in Namsai and Chowkham and the surrounding villages brought a closer insight into the modern lifestyle of this community. Their traditional homes made on bamboo stilts stand in stark contrast to the modern concrete houses. Following a strict Buddhist lineage of Hinayana, this community celebrates festivals following the strict Buddhist tradition. I have had the fortune of spending three Sangken festival together with the community. In the plains of this river touching district, the month of April begins to get warm.

Between 12th to 16th April each year, Sangken is celebrated where the families come to visit Chong and other sacred spaces and perform some necessary rituals of cleansing the Buddha idols as a mark of beginning the new year. After that, they engage in a playful event of splashing pure clean water on each other to symbolise cleansing. 

Sangken is akin to how in mainland India Holi is played but the water is kept clean and pious. No colours added. During Sangken it is rare to see anyone not drenched head to toe in water.

The sentiment of having fun while retaining the tradition of cleansing for the new year moves together simultaneously, and reveals the richness of Tai Khampti culture. I thought I would name this Sari Sangken, after the name of this festival. This may perhaps encourage someone to look up this beautiful tribe. While the finer nuances of this community can only be experienced through direct experience, when searching the term Sangken, some research will definitely show up to lead you to know more about them.

Aunty Nang Dharmavati- my friend Kemsting’s mother, other friends from this district, along with Nang Amlavati and Suktana Engling have given me a hospitable glimpse into their culture. These weaves are made by Tai Khampti weavers on the land where Tai Khampti people reside, supervised and consent by local artisans and their families providing livelihood to women in the district.

This Sari was made as part of an initiative that has lasted more than 5 years, where about 30 women earned livelihood under the leadership of Nang Amlavati. These weaves are not bought but commissioned work woven with cotton brought from Salem, Tamil Nadu in order to encourage use of cotton over synthetic yarns.

Blouse fabric

Buyer Empowerments

Eri silk and Malkha aspect of Sari
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.
Tai Khampti weaves aspect of Sari
Indigenous textiles from Arunachal Pradesh that involves traditional handloom weaving.
Mill spun mercerised cotton yarn with Azo-free dyeing
Combined aspects of the Sari
One of a kind heirloom textile that brings together Tai Khampti tribe weaving motifs with Eri Silk. The intricate weaves set in contrast to soft delicate Eri silk lend a elegant drape. I wanted the blues of the weaves to pop out effortlessly so I imagined a charcoal and mellow yellow to create a gentle flow of colours. I like the way the subtle contrast turned out eventually.
Weather/ Mood
Pleasant-not warm not cold. Should give warmth on a slightly nippy evening. Should also protect from blazing Sun.
Eri Silk can last a lifetime if well looked after. The lose threads of the weave are a witness to it being a handwoven textile. Looking after those loose threads will add to longevity.
Dry Clean only; Needs “Airing” in shadow, not direct sun. Do not wring. Occasional starch with uplift the drape. Be careful to not pull the yarn of weaves if ever they get entangled.
Mill spun mercerised cotton yarn with Azo-free dyeing
Statement piece, heirloom, traditional translated to modern
Made in rural household. Weaves made by artisan at home in available time- supporting farming lifestyle.
In support of slow movement
In support of indigenous knowledge of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
No bargaining with artisans. Mutual decision-making.
No deadline/ pressure based work environment.
Livelihood generation for single women, old grandmothers, untrained weavers
Supports non- industrial tailoring skills.
Faith in up-skilling unskilled artisans.
In support of grassroots initiatives like Malkha India
Tai Khampti weaves made with support from Nang Amlavati, Arunachal Pradesh.
Eri silk handspun, hand woven, natural dyed with supervision from Narmohan Das, Assam.
Malkha cotton by Malkha India.
Cotton yarn for Tai Khampti weaves from Salem, Tamil Nadu.
Stitched by Gurmel Singh, Jalalabad, Punjab.
Beadwork by Param, Bathinda, Punjab.
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 2024
designed by: MIDTOAN