Indigenous Idu Mishmi Aetokozo woven with cotton.
Border and reverse side with Sheep wool and Eri Silk
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, I have taken the same symmetry of the jacket and elaborated it into a shawl, extending the length of the vertical band and repeating the patterns at both ends.
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.
Eri silk and wool 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.
Thermal insulation, Moisture absorption, UV protective, completely bio-degradable.
Idu Mishmi aspect of shawl
Idu Mishmi 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 Ethnic Idu Mishmi community that involves traditional back strap loom weaving.To keep Aetokozo as the central highlight, I decided to give this shawl two sides. One side Aetokozo. Second side, hand spun hand woven Eri silk and broad borders of Sheel wool from Ladakh woven on traditional loom.
Pleasant-not warm not cold. Should give warmth on a slightly nippy evening. Should also protect from blazing Sun. Sheep wool will be warm to touch.
Not fragile. Even if Eri Silk wears out after much use, you may like to keep Idu Mishmi weaves to re-purpose them.
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.
Sits well around the shoulder. Statement textile. Heirloom aura.
Made in rural household. Weaves made by artisan at home in available time- supporting farming lifestyle.
No bargaining with artisans. Mutual decision-making.
No deadline/ pressure based work environment.
Supports back strap loom weaving culture
Slow production. Slow movement. “At your own pace”
In support of back strap loom weaving and indigenous cultures
Idu Mishmi weaves woven on cotton by Jiri Menjo, following the creative guidelines from mora.
Eri Silk weaves made under supervision of Narmohan Das following the creative guidelines from mora.
Sheep Wool textile from grassroots of Ladakh.
Stitched by Gurmel Singh, Jalalabad, Punjab.
Research support by Chamali Milli, Roing, Arunachal Pradesh.