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Thursday, 28 April 2016

Mekhela Chador- Assamese Handloom


Cotton Chaddar
Mekhela-Chador/chaddar is the traditional dressing of women of all age group, living in Assam(A state in north-eastern part of India). Mekhela-Chador is also known as Dakhona, Danka, khamlet, Phanek.  It consists of two parts mekhela and chador. Mekhela resembles sarong- a large piece of cloth wrapped around lower part of body and tucked at waist. It is worn over a petticoat or underskirt.  Chador is a wrap or dupatta. It is also a piece of cloth, wrapped around upper part of body, over shoulder.  A set of Mekhela and chador appears to be like a saree in two parts.
As per Third National Handloom Census Of Weavers  And Allied Workers 2010, Assam has largest concentration of  handloom worker households (21.7%) in country. Around 8.74 lakh(38.5%) handloom households produce Mekhla-chaddar, though most for domestic use(62%) rather than for commercial purpose. The North-Eastern states have a predominantly female (99%) adult work force and handloom weaving is part of the culture across all social groups. Major type of looms used in the region are Frame looms (78%) and loin looms (21%).
The yarns used are cotton, eri silk, muga silk and pat silk and their combination. Assam’s handloom industry is basically silk oriented as the climate of Assam is suitable for sericigenous flora and faunaFabric is woven in plain or twill weave with check or stripe design and is characterized by a border with extra wrap or weft design. Dying, complex weaving techniques and dense figural decoration are not features usually associated with handlooms of Assam.

References:
1.     Third National Handloom Census Of Weavers And Allied Workers 2010
2.     ARTS &  CRAFTS of North-East  http://ignca.nic.in/craft252.htm#Dyeing