The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database
caption: footnotes
text: 14. Red, a favourite colour, was once produced by the Central Nzemi from rubia sikkimensis, and dark blue was derived from strobilanthus flaccidifolius. During a period of extreme Angami pressure the Central Nzemi banned the use of red dye and restricted the use of black or dark blue in the hope of lessening their defeats, red being the colour of blood and dark blue or black that of decomposition. Chemical black and dark-blue dyes were widely used before 1940 to circumvent the restrictions on the vegetable equivalents, although some tingkhupeo applied the ban to chemical dyes as well. Ready-dyed scarlet thread was used in Asalu for making gala dress. The remoter Laisong and Kepelo use an earth-coloured vegetable dye (derived from a creeper) in lieu of red. Among the Northern Nzemi a yellow vegetable dye is used, and a pink balsam is grown in the fields and used to produce a salmon-colour.