Karbi tribe’s mother’s wrap Pība with Kalamkari
Spoken for
Pība is Karbi mother’s wrap. A Karbi mother weaves her own Pība. As a bride, sometimes she is gifted her Pība by her mother. When she becomes a mother, she uses it to tie her infant close to her body, giving her child protection, closeness and safety. Most mothers keep their Pība as a plain weave with coloured stripes. Sometimes, they add few running weave lines at the edges. But rarely, do they add complex motifs. This is considered an extra garment a mother wears over her dress.

Her main dress constitutes:
Pini: wrap around skirt
Pekok: The square cloth wrapped around right shoulder
Vamkok: belt to tie Pini
Jiso: a piece of fabric wrapped on the chest.

I wanted to accentuate the simplicity of Pība so I used the complexity of Kalamkari along with it. I enjoyed this emergence.

Karbis are subdivided into clans classified by: TERANG—->INGTI—–>TIMUNG—–>ENGHI——->TERON——>TERANG

Terang and all its sub-clan should by custom marry an Ingti girl. A Teron should marry a Terang girl. A timung should marry an Engti Girl and an Ingti should marry a Timung Girl.

“They follow a strict rule of exogamy. Sexual or marital union between people belonging to the same clan is considered incestuous as they are considered as siblings, and any violation of this rule may lead to public banishment. Interestingly, a man and a woman will be regarded as brothers and sisters even if their mother’s clan is same, though they might belong to different clans. Hence they cannot marry each other.”

With a good fortune of having worked directly with Karbi artisans, I share with you a glimpse into a culture through this shawl.

Buyer Empowerments

Indigenous textile of Assam that involves traditional handloom weaving. Kalamkari is an ancient textile art of Andhra Pradesh. It involves a method of natural dyeing and drawing using wooden pen to make beautiful designs constituting popular themes like creepers, flowers, deities and depictions of mythology, peacocks and such.
One of a kind wearable textile. I enjoyed giving form to the textures of back strap loom weaves of Karbis with hand painted Kalamkari, bringing together diverse geography into a single textile.
Weather/ Mood
Pleasant- okay for summers to nippy evenings
Not fragile
Dry Clean only; Needs “Airing” in shadow, not direct sun
Ready to wear
Kalamkari is made using natural dyes on mulmul. Karbi weaves are woven with mill spun mercerised cotton yarn with Azo-free dyeing. Fabric source is natural- cotton.
Weaves and Kalamkari are both grassroots production. Weaves made by artisan at home in available time- supporting farming lifestyle.
Elegant, heirloom.
Weaves made by Jili in Karbi Anglong, Assam.
Cotton yarn sourced from Salem, Tamil Nadu.
Kalamkari by Subbarao, Sri Kalahasti, Andhra Pradesh.
Stitched by Gurmel Singh, Jalalabad, Punjab.
Tassels by Param, Bathinda, Punjab.
Research credits: Ranjan Engti, D. S. Theron and karbi.blogspot.com
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