An Ethnographic Study on Loom Technology of Ao (Nagas)

Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute, India

The Nagas, are propounded to have distinct attire in respective of each tribe with different technology for manufacturing its weaving implements. In present scenario, although the Ao, Nagas is still seen to be indulged in weaving activities yet most of the traditional method for manufacturing and utilization of tools practiced during the ancestral period are obsolete. Considering the study of the loom technology no researchers have been done. Loom implements also known as Olangla(Ao,Chungli) play an important role as prized possession among women, especially in the past. Olangla, was given away during marriage and inherited as heirloom from one generation to another generation within one’s own kinship after she dies. Henceforth, it is important to document the techniques, technologies and the varieties of plant species used for making loom implements as well as during weaving process, before the ancient traditions perishes as a result of admixture with modern technologies. The current research was undertaken in Akhoya Village which is also known as weaver’s village of Mokokchung District, Nagaland. The study focused mainly on interviews and observations related to loom technologies. The initial method of loom making have drastically changed overtime. The polishing of implements by sandpaper fig leaves, extraction of sap from tree to make pigments and the use of Musa leaves as a talcum are no longer practiced because of the non-availability in nearby areas due to human exploitation. The easy availability of synthetic auxiliary rope has been a threat for extinct of rope made out of tree bark. An inference drawn due to these reasons shows the dying legacy of this cultural heritage. The similarities in technology with the rest of Southeast Asia and other countries can be broadly studied hand in hand with diverse archaeological studies in understanding the origin and migration of the Ao, Nagas.