dirang8-300x225The Monpa, former tribal nomadic people in Tibet, are settled Buddhists living as farmers, yak herders, and traders in Arunachal Pradesh, a protected state in the Northeast corner of India. Monpa women still weave their own clothing on backstrap looms out of cotton and domesticated silk, and embroider them with region-specific designs. The outfit of shingka (sleeveless dress), tudung (jacket), and chudang (sash) was collected in the town of Dirang in 2014 from the weaver and the wearer Rinchin Zangmu Dunkharpa, who is shown with her family. A galle (ankle-length wraparound skirt) is another Monpa item of clothing that is regularly worn by women. Depicted motifs are yaks and horses carrying people and toads, birds, and star or flower shapes.

“It is an honor to come to know that the Monpa woven clothing is now displayed in your prestigious Museum. It is because of people like you that we are still able to preserve our age old culture and traditions which would otherwise maybe get vanished through the passage of time.”

Bhuban Pradhan
Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh, India

from Layers of Influence: Unfolding Cloth Across Cultures
Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia