Thebvora Throw by Leshemi Origins | ARTISANS' Gallery (INDIA)
The hallmark of a timeless and self-sustaining Naga lifestyle, the Thebvora literally translates to 'nettle shawl' in the language of the Chakhesang Khuzhami tribe. Thebvo means stinging nettle and Ra means shawl. This classic Thebvora is made of hand-picked, hand spun and hand woven stinging nettle. This utilitarian nettle body cloth is warm and waterproof. Formerly used as blankets, today old shawls are worn as a durable carry-all in the rice fields. The nettle shawl is increasingly rare, and new ones are reserved for ceremonial occasions.
This product is true to the original shawl, but adapted to a contemporary throw size. The minimal black stripe a key design element, unique to the Leshemi identity, is retained.The product is strip woven and skillfully joined at the seams. Today stinging nettle is woven only by indigenous women of the Chakhesang tribe in remote Naga villages in the mountains of Northeast India, on back strap looms.
The spinning and weaving of stinging nettle is increasingly rare. Stinging nettle is foraged from the wild once a year, in early winter. In a long and labourious process, strips of nettle bast fibre (stripped off the stalks), are retted, dried, thigh-reeled into twine, and hand-spun using a drop spindle. The yarn is then soaked in a coarse local rice broth, which naturally bleaches and softens the fiber. It is repeatedly soaked and sun-dried until the desired tone is attained. It is woven on backstrap looms. The flexibility of the portable loom enables women to work from their own home. The fiber-to-fabric journey is entirely local and self-sustaining (although the cotton yarn, once local, is now sourced). The natural black dye for the centre stripe is a local recipe: cotton yarn is mordanted in tannin-rich bark (locally sourced from the wild hazelnut, walnut and oak trees) and soaked in dark iron-rich paddy field clay. The yarn is then warped and prepared for the back-strap loom alternating cotton yarn in the warp and weft.
After scouring the nettle yarn with coarse rice, a rice cake is baked from the waste crumbs. While this is a treat for young girls, it is considered a taboo for young boys to eat this rice cake.
Disclaimer and Care Instructions: Please note that the natural colors of nettle textiles are unique and may vary a bit from item to item. Wash nettle fabrics by hand in cold water, using ecological laundry products. Nettle softens with washing.
Maker: Mesete-ü Lomi
Size: 120 cm X 170 cm
Fabric: Hand spun stinging nettle (Urtica Dioica), unbleached cotton and Eri silk blend, natural dyed black cotton
Available to dispatch in 65 days