Saturday, April 26, 2008

LEMBA HOKA MIYU (Village folks)

Nyanii-mida mi inchi siila,
Diinii-baanii mi kachi siila;
Ari-apii mi kalyan siila,
Konchi-Kamo mi inkun siila;
Lemba hoka miyu-Tanii miyu.

(Photo Source-Christa Neuenhofer)

Pikke-pila mi diigii siila,
Kaji-paka mi diiba siila;
Pore-O mi tamba siila,
Biisi-ayu mi yuba siila;
Lemba hoka miyu-Tanii miyu.

Anii-piida ho kalyan siila,
Yasi-yamu ho helyan siila;
Diimo-irre mi miibo siila,

Ditun-ratun mi imba siila;
Lemba hoka miyu-Tanii miyu.

(Photo Source- SOAS, London)

Aji-lyapyo mi miikun siila,
Yasan-yamu mi pakun siila;
Dibii-narun mi miiba siila,
Sulu-siikhii mi miibo siila;
Lemba hoka miyu-Tanii miyu.

(Photo source-Tom Gibson,1991)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Myoko side events : agyang paniin

Being present this year at Ziro for Myoko festival (and thanks to the warm hospitality which was provided to me everywhere) I had the opportunity to attend some of the many rituals taking place during this almost one month celebration. One of them is AGYAN PANIIN, normally performed on the 7th day after the opening ceremony (sama piniin). Although the significance of this ritual still remains largely unknown to me, at least I could take a few snaps showing the way the altar -called pamun agyan- is erected.

In every household of one given clan (halu), male members first collect straight branches of a particular chestnut tree called kiira (Castanopsis sp.) from their respective bamboo groves (bije) or community forest, and hoist them in one row on an appropriate bamboo structure.

The site where the altar is being erected. In the particular event which I observed it was located just besides the clan platform (lapan), and was overshadowed by a blackberry bush, i.e. the silkworm tree (Morus alba).

Kiira branches collected by male members of the clan are first gathered on the spot.
One branch is brought for each male member of the household.

A tamin tree (Mahonia nepalensis) was also replanted on the site as part of the ceremony.

Building the bamboo structure

Tiying the 3 bamboo poles firmly into the ground by means of wooden mallets

Completing the main structure by attaching 3 horizontal bamboo poles (arpii)

Inserting kiira branches after having partially removed the bark

Consolidating the structure with bamboo sticks displayed in X shape

Fixing a small basket-shaped bamboo item at the back of the altar which will play a prominent role later during the ritual. Liikhan could be the name of this item, although I am not quite sure of this.

pamun agyan ready for celebration


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Apatani proverb of the day-2


Meaning: Anii kiimi kagii la tano-pasu medu. Aba kiimi kagii la riimi sorchan ho yai-yaso gyodu.

Anii-aba lembo jaho hime-o hii injo-montadu. Hime-o kadopa diima-hama mi miikin kema. Denki lembo mi kakin siiko henkin do.

English version:
The intricacy of needlework, from her mother she learns;
the skill of laying snares, from his father he earns;
and thus, the traits and behaviour of a child are shaped by its parents.

****Meaning of Apatani words:
Kagii=To learn by seeing others behaviours/activities
Pami=Lice like parasite that found on the hen
Sonyo=learn to crawl

Source:Nitin-Hormin by Kalung challa

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Apatani proverb (NITIN-HORMIN) of the day-1


Meaning: Anu atan mi tonser tola giilyi ho, aban atan mi yarlyan yarla giilyi ho, anu-aban hii pyapyun pa samba siidu.

English version: A wise man who is sandwiched in his orientation between elders and youngsters, with his endeavours to strike a balance between the two can lead a united brotherhood.

Source : NITIN-HORMIN by Kalung Challa

Monday, April 14, 2008

Apatani traditional textile techniques 1

Tanii people are reknown for their rich and exquisite traditional textile making. Particularly the women folk of our community engage themselves in making cotton tissues of various designs for different purposes. In this article I shall introduce the techniques involved in our traditional textile making as it starts from spinning of thread out of raw cotton. Cotton (empya) never seems to have been cultivated extensively in the valley due to unfavorable climatic conditions, but was usually exchanged or bought from neighbouring groups, especially from Nyishis, as observed by anthropologist F├╝rer-Haimendorf :

"Cotton does not rank high among the crops of the Apa Tanis, even though their weaving is more developed than that of any of their neighbours. They used to buy almost all their cotton from Nyishis, often obtaining it by bartering rice, but of late they are also able to purchase imported yarn in the shops of Hapoli, and rarely from Nyishis" (1980 : 34)

The Nishis grow a large amount of cotton in the valley of Palin and Panior.

Traditional process of cotton spinning

In very first stage, raw cotton has to be spun into threads. For this purpose Apatani ladies uses 4 tools, namely lekho, tafo, pikhii and hornanii.

  • Ginning (separating fibers from seeds) is done by using a thin, slim and smooth surfaced stick locally called lekho.

  • Tafo is basically a stick inserted into an earthen ball used to combine and twist fibers together to form thread or yarn. As this spindle is dropped downward with a twist, a thread is pulled from the pack of unspun fibers and wound onto the stick.
This Tanii lady is spinning a thread from cotton using tafo made of clay.

A closer view of earthen tafo
  • Plying the spun rough thread into desired types of threads for various weaving purposes is made by using an indigenous tool is called pikhii, consisting in a stick inserted into a nut obtained from a local (still unidentified) tree. This operation is essential to gather the twisted thread so it may be used as yarn for the loom :

  • Once cotton fibers have been turned into thread or yarn, a bamboo frame known as hornanii (literally "making a loop of thread") is used for making loops. Such a disposal of the thread is also appropriate for adding dyes.
  • Loops are finally made into balls by means of a bamboo framework known as piirii-e, resembling a spinning wheel. The base is made to sit on the ground and the wheel is powered by hand.

  • Before this thread or yarn is woven as cloth on a loom it is usually dyed. Earlier Taniis used to make extensive use of vegetal dyes, especially plants such as tamin (Rubia cordifolia) and sankhii (Eurya acuminata var. euprista). The roots, stem and leaves of tamin produce a reddish orange dye, whereas the leaves of sankhii produce a brownish yellow color after boiling. Because the dying agents contained in tamin have poor affinity for cotton fibers, the two species are often combined as sankhii enhances the dyeability of tamin due to the presence of aluminium in its leaves. A recent study has shown that this "biomordant" can even compete with metal salts used today as mordants in commercial dyes.

Pictures of the 2 plants from : S. Vankara, Rakhi Shankera, Debajit Mahantab and S.C. Tiwari, "Ecofriendly sonicator dyeing of cotton with Rubia cordifolia Linn. using biomordant", Dyes and Pigments 76/1 (2008) : 207-212.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Some photos from my recent visit to Ziro

Flowers of Gyan haman

Sprouting endi (paddy) in midin (nurseries)

Mighty babo trying to reach the blue sky

View of hillocks in the early morning

The real scene of mother nature