Tripura Handloom - The Heritage
A slender strip of earth overgrown with trackless wood and thick foliage in the south-west extremity of Assam is TRIPURA- the tiny home of nearly three million people. Here there is nothing exotic or splendorous that may stir your eyes. But here in this ancient land, beneath the sylvan shadows, from time immemorial, there have been remarkable experiments in traditional art and the crafts that earned the lofty admiration of time-honored connoisseurs like Huen Tsang, Travernier, Ab-Ul-Fazal and even the great poet Rabindranath Tagore.The art of weaving occupies a very sacred place in the traditional life of Tripura. In fact in our tribal society no right or ritual is sanctioned unless it is preceded by an worship of 'Riha' the hand-woven breast cover of the family elders. The ancient folk-lorries and fables of Tripura galore with innumerable examples of glorification of the art of weaving in the tribal society. We come across starting stories where a king marries an ordinary village damsel for her unique depiction of an intricate design in weaving, or another king pronouncing a royal decree of punishment upon a defiant community which prohibiting them from using any bright color in their weaving apparels.
In the ups and downs of socio-political history, Tripura witnessed drastic changes in its demographic character, but the nimble fingers of our weavers continued with tradition and finesse. Nature has endowed the people of this land with a very high sense of aesthetic beauty which enabled their skillful hands to translate the vision in various forms of art in conformity with the unique aesthetic equilibrium of the nature, in all the details of sense, color, perception forms and even rhythm. Today, Tripura Handloom represents a unique harmonious blend of three traditions- Tribal, Bengalee and Manipuri weaving.
The Tribal fabrics of Tripura are well known for their elegant design, bold color combination and lasting texture. The Tribal motifs skillfully depicted through stylized decorative designs are really in great demand. Modern made-up in tribal fabrics is very attractive indeed.
The Manipuri community of Tripura specializes in certain traditional items of distinct heritage. Today, they represent a synthesized tradition quite distinct from the handloom of Manipur. They produce colorful bedspread Lysingphee and elegant furnishing fabrics with Typical Manipuri designs.
With aforesaid two traditions of Handloom in Tripura, the third blending force is the one represented by Bengalee weavers who migrated erstwhile East Pakistan (Bangladesh). They have in many ways rejuvenated and supplemented handloom tradition of this land with greater Bengal weaving heritage. This has resulted into a wide variety of common use products like silk and cotton sharis, lungis, Shirting's, jute carpets, bedspreads and colorful furnishing fabrics.
In Tripura, weavers of all communities have shown a remarkable courage of conviction in freely adopting motifs and techniques from each others' tradition with a view to enriching their own.