Costumes of Nagaland - Informative & researched article on Costumes of Nagaland
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Home > Society > Indian Costume > Indian State Costumes > Costumes of Nagaland
Costumes of Nagaland
Costumes of Nagaland mainly comprise shawls which are an extensively used item of the state. It is the most significant item used by the Naga people.
 Costumes of NagalandCostumes of Nagalandinclude various types of Shawls. For instance, the ornate warrior-celebrating shawl, called Tsungkotepsu is a characteristic of the Aos clan. Apart from the shawl, the normal working dress is a kilt generally of black colour. It may be embroidered with cowries.

Women's costume of Nagaland
Women in general are clad in plain blue cloth and a white cloth with black marginal bands of changing breadth. Women often wear men's garment. The casual costume of a dress of Angami women includes a petticoat called neikhro, a sleeveless top called vatchi, a white skirt called pfemhou. The Ze-liangs-rong, a mixed group of Zemis, Liangmais and Rongmei exhibit themselves in costumes, considerably same with that of the Angami tribe. The commonest costume is a white cloth, contrasted with six black bands of varying measurements at both ends. The costume of the Zemei women is restricted to white-coloured clothes and skirts with very narrow black and red border.

The costume of the Ao women is a skirt, which is one and a quarter meter long and about two thirds of the meter, is draped round the waist and the surface outer edge is implanted for the grip. The skirts come up in an inexplicable variety. They differ from village to village and also from clan to clan. The popular types of the Ao skirts involve Azu jangnup su, endowed with red and yellow-black stripes, the Ngami su or fish tail skirt, and finally the Yongzujangau or cucumber seed skirt, woven in red on a black base. The women of the remaining groups go for diversity.

Costumes of Nagaland Men's costume of Nagaland
A daily costume, meant for wear and tear, is the black shawl called ratapfe. Men wear black kilt, decorated with embroidered cowries in three or four lines. The western Angami villages have their unique style of costume-design. Shawls of Lothas are graded by the number of gennas or festivals arranged by the wearer. Thus a man who has given the first genna wears the phangrhup. With the performance of the second genna, the strip broadens accordingly. The third genna allows a man to put in the Ethasu. With the fulfillment of the mission, the successful man resorts to stone-dragging which permits him to wear Lungpensu. This latter one is a dark blue cloth with five stripes of light blue and with thin marginal stripes on either side. There is only one cloth in the wardrobe of the Angamis, which is indicative of social prestige. The phichu-pfe is the priest's costume.

Types of Naga Shawls
Tsungkotepsu signifies affluence of the owner, and the depictions of elephant and tiger speaks of the courage of the concerned man, while the human head attests accomplishment in head-hunting and other tasks like wielding spear and dao. Aomelep su made from dog's hair, dyed red in colour. Rongsu shawl is wearable only by those who have a glorious heritage of Mithun sacrifice, committed by the forefathers and also by the individual himself. There is a wide spectrum of shawls woven by the Yimchunger Nagas. Rongkhim is a fantastic shawl, wearable by a venerated warrior only. Kechinger Rongkhim is too a warrior-respecting shawl. The exotic shawl tsungrem khim is an asset for the Yimchunger Naga women. The hallmark of the Konyaks is nye-myon the shawl worn by the senior villagers in important conferences and meetings. Nikola is a white shawl which functions as a woman's attire.

Resplendently coloured shawl, known as Shatni is a luxury item, affordable by the wealthy Konyak woman. It is the custom, that an affluent man's daughter, during wedding is gifted with a Shatni shawl by her parents. This particular shawl is maintained with care, as there is the peculiar law among the Konyaks, that at the time of her death, her corpse would be enveloped in this specific shawl.

The plethora of designs, motifs, patterns and vibrant shades make the world of Naga costumes a rainbow world.

(Last Updated on : 12/08/2014)
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