Tribal Weaves

Vibha Mitra

Tribal art is the visual arts and material culture of indigenous peoples. Ethnographic art, or, controversially, primitive art,  is often ceremonial or religious in nature.

 

India has always been known as the land that portrayed cultural and traditional vibrancy through its conventional arts and crafts. The  different regions  across the country each have their own distinctive cultural and traditional identities, its own style and pattern of art and are displayed through various forms of art prevalent there. The folk and tribal arts of India are very ethnic and simple, and yet colorful and vibrant.

 

Tribal art generally reflects the creative energy found in rural areas that acts as an undercurrent to the craftsmanship of the tribal people. Tribal art ranges through a wide range of art forms, such as wall paintings, tribal dances, tribal music, enough to speak volumes about the country's rich heritage,  traditional aesthetic sensibility and authenticity. These have become an intrinsic part of India's cultural identity.

 

The Bodo empire spread throughout the region, from Koch Behar in North Bengal to Sylhet in Bangladesh stretching all the way till Tripura. The Bodo follow Bathou religion, the religion of five principles or thoughts, which has a close affinity to Hinduism. Weaving is an integral part of the Bodo culture, with every household having a handloom. Women mainly weave a dokhna, which is a traditional sari-like wrap worn by them or a gamcha which is a wrap-around worn by the men. Besides they are extremely skilful at weaving cloth from Endi and Muga, indigenous silk forms of Assam.

 

Bodo, Mishing, Karbi, Dimasa are the traditional weaving styles and the traditional motifs used by the Bodo are mainly inspired by nature – water hyacinth, spinach flower, tortoise, mountain, pigeon’s eye, peacock and fingers to name a few. The Bodo colors are shades of yellow to red as the base, with green or blue as the accent, and floral patterns inspired by nature.

 

These designs appear simple, easy geometric, vibrant, colourful and are rich in visual elements. There is however an equally rich historical and cultural context, symbolism and the artist's intent to not be disregarded.

 

These weaves are a must, a style statement of flamboyance and a statement of being Indian.



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