The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : 'Konyak Nagas' by Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, (1969)

caption: Chapter One. The Material Background
caption: dyeing of cotton cloth; sewing of strips; taboos
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York20:7
text: Bark fibre was utilized in its natural coloring, a dull off-white, but for the manufacture of cotton textiles, yarn was dyed and threads of different color were combined in the warp as well as in the weft. The cloth woven on these looms was never wider than about 20 inches, and several strips had to be sewn together to form a body cloth. Needles of bone were the traditional implement used for this work, but even in the 1930s these had largely been superseded by imported needles of steel.
text: The dyeing of yarn was also done only by women. Red dye was produced from an infusion of the roots of 'Rubia sikkimensis,' in which the yarn was allowed to soak for two or three days. Blue and black dyes were the result of boiling indigo leaves in water, the longer the time of boiling, the deeper the color. The process of dyeing was not permitted to those women still capable of bearing a child, but the Konyaks had no explanation for the exclusion of younger women from the dyeing vats. Both weaving and dyeing were occupations which were undertaken during that part of the year in which women had not much work on the fields, that is in the months falling between the bringing in of the harvest and the beginning of the weeding of the following season's crop.