Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra
A glimpse of the Chapchar Kut Harvest festival held at Aizawl in March 2012.
The Chapchar Kut is the Harvest festival of Mizoram and celebrated across the hills in March for a single day.
The Cheraw or bamboo dance is performed by young boys and girls. The boys across the performance ground clap bamboos in a synchronised beat, while the girls step within the bamboo patterns created by the boys. The footwork steps change from time to time along with the beat and the girls have to be careful not to get hurt.
Their head dress is called the Vakiria. The band that holds it to the head is woven in different patterns and feathers are attached to it. A stick is fixed at the back – parallel to the shoulder line and has strings of ‘pingpih’ beads and metal tassels attached. These make a pretty tinkling sound when the girls sway their heads.
The ‘pingpih’ look similar to the ‘Job’s tear seeds’ that are seen on some costumes from the Karen tribe of Thailand and are probably from the same family of maize like grains.
The girls wrap around skirts are called ‘Puan’ and the expensive colorful ones worn at this festival are the ‘Puanchei’.
Their costumes are truly among the most elaborately woven in the North East.
A few amazing Puans and Puancheis will be showcased in the Wovensouls gallery and over 200 hi-res pro images of Mizoram will be available for sale on JainaMishra.com in April 2012.