Naga Textiles : Design, Technique, Meaning and Effect of a Local Craft Tradition in Northeast India

Marion Wettstein

The focus of this comprehensive work is the aesthetics and the decryption of the language of the textiles of the Nagas, a group of tribal local cultures in the north-east of India and the north-west of Burma. For more than ten years, anthropologist Marion Wettstein has systematically been drawing the traditional fabrics, and researching their design, production techniques, meaning and contemporary transposition into fashion. More than 60 colour pencil drawings and 180 watercolours on the morphology of the textile samples are considered by the author to be not just an artistic translation but in particular visual argumentation. While the work shows how the textile patterns are laden with meaning of a complex system of status and social structure, it also illuminates what is understood by these concepts in the context of the Nagas and to what extent they are also constructs of colonial and scientific intervention.