India, Leshemi Origins/ Artisans' Gallery, Thebvo Lakho Traditional Naga Sling Bag
This traditional sling bag is the quintessential Naga accessory. Thebvo literally translates to 'nettle' in the language of the Chakhesang Khuzhami tribe. It is made of hand-picked hand spun stinging nettle hand woven on a back strap loom. This wear-resistant and waterproof nettle cloth is perfect for a sturdy hands-free bag. True to the self-sustaining village economy, each bag is entirely handmade - from the hand-picked hand spun hand woven nettle textile, to the handsewn seams which use decorative finishing stitches.
This is the authentic strip-woven hand-sewn Thebvo Naga sling bag.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). Today stinging nettle is woven only by indigenous women of the Chakhesang tribe in remote Naga villages in the mountains of Northeast India.
While each Naga tribe has a uniquely identifiable weave, the Thebvo Lakho bag, is carried by the Khuzhami community of the Chakhesang tribe. For those in the know, a tribe can be identified by the pattern that they wear or carry. This bag is commonly used by children to carry books to school (and often a mandatory part of the uniform); by church goers; and by farmers.
Interestingly, the traditional Naga bag does not have a closure, since there is no percieved threat in a culture where intrinsic values such as honesty and communal ownership lead to a high level of trust.
Disclaimer and Care Instructions: Please note that the natural colors of nettle may vary from item to item. Wash nettle fabrics by hand in cold water, using ecological laundry products. Nettle softens with washing
Maker: Kekuwe-ü Lomi
Size: Body of the bag: 30 cm x 21 cm x 12 cm depth. Total length with sling: 87 cm
Fabric: Hand spun stinging nettle (Urtica Dioica), unbleached cotton.
These items are made to order.
Available to dispatch in 55 days