kichinger rongkhim (Wrap Skirt)

About this object

History of use

Worn at special occasions, such as feasts of merit and prayer rituals.

Narrative

Formerly owned by the family of Shilu Lal. Purchased by Dr. Oberoi in Tuensang, along with eleven other wrap skirts of similar design (see 1473/1 thru 1473/12).

Cultural context

ceremonial

Iconographic meaning

Cowrie shells signify bravery. The various colours in the bands indicate the clan to which the wearer belongs.

Specific techniques

Woven on a back strap loom.

Physical description

Rectangular, ceremonial skirt, or apron. The main body of the piece is made of black cotton textile which is bordered at the top with a narrow multicoloured horizontal stripe. The lower third of the garment consists of a finely-woven, horizontally striped, multicoloured textile, with many woven geometric motifs. A horizontal row of cowrie shells (arranged in threes) is affixed to the apron just above this patterned textile and extends almost all the way across the width of the garment. Above the shells are three ‘rosettes’ made of cowrie shells -- one large design in the center of the skirt and one small design spaced on either side of it. Many long strands of dark red glass and metallic cylindrical beads, interspersed with white seeds, are attached below this row of shells and hang freely to the bottom of the garment. Each strand of beads is finished with a tuft of wool, resembling a small tassel.