India, Leshemi Origins | ARTISANS' Sustainable Development Foundation, Thebvora Shawl/ Throw
Product name: Thebvora Shawl/ Throw
Type of product: Shawl/ Throw
Description (story of the item):
The hallmark of a timeless and self-sustaining Naga lifestyle, the Thebvora literally means 'nettle shawl' in the language of the Chakhesang Khuzhami tribe. Thebvo means stinging nettle and Ra means shawl. This classic Thebvora is made of handpicked, hand spun and hand woven stinging nettle.
The utilitarian nettle body cloth is warm and waterproof. Formerly used as blankets, today an old shawl is 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. It is strip woven and skilfully joined at the seams. The minimal black stripe, a key design element, unique in identity, is retained.
Stinging nettle is woven by indigenous women of the Chakhesang tribe in the mountains of Northeast India, on back strap looms. It is foraged from the wild once a year, in early winter. In a long and labourious process, strips of nettle 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 fibre. It is repeatedly washed and sun-dried until the desired colour is attained.
The natural black dye is a completely local recipe: the cotton yarn is dyed with a mordant of tannin-rich bark (locally sourced from the wild hazelnut, walnut and oak trees), which is then soaked in iron-rich paddy field clay.
The flexibility of the portable loom enables women to work from their own home. The fibre-to-fabric journey is entirely local and zero-carbon-footprint (although the cotton yarn, once local, is now sourced).
A little known fact? 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.
Care Instructions: Dry clean only
Disclaimer: Please note that the natural colours of nettle textiles are unique and may vary a bit from item to item.
Materials: Hand spun stinging nettle (Urtica Dioica), cotton, and natural dyed black cotton
Measurements / size: 114 cm X 178 cm
Availability / stock level: On Order (Dispatch time is 75 days)