Mizoram's Tawlhlohpuan and Mizo Puanchei shawl or wraparound, the most exquisite and intricately designed handwoven textile, has received Geographical Indication (GI) tag under the Government of India's Department for promotion of industry and internal trade. Handloom weaving has always been an integral part of the Mizo life and it offers a varied ethnic range of intricately designed handloom products.
The traditional attire of the Mizos is called the 'Puan' which simply means 'cloth'. There are many kinds of 'Puans'. Every colour, motif and design of the cloth has a traditional and cultural significance to the Mizos. One such 'puans', that are in high demand for it's ethnicities, are the 'Twalhlohpuan' and 'Mizo Puanchei' shawls or wraparounds.
Recently, these intricately designed textiles received GI tag under the Department for promotion of industry and internal trade. "I am happy to share that, Mizo Twalhlohpuan and Puanchei finally got registered under GI tag. It is a step towards the development of the state," said a senior research official from the Tribal Research Institute in Mizoram.
'Geographical Indication' tag is an indication used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to the origin. Such a tag conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is attributed to its origin. The GI tag is like a boon for the weavers of the state as it will provide a platform to their products in the international market, ensuring better income for them.
"I am a Mizo and weaving puan is our culture and tradition since the time of our ancestral grandfather. Puan getting a GI tag is a big thing for us and it will surely develop our state," said Lalduhawmi, a local weaver. It is worth mentioning that Tawlhlohpuan is a medium-to-heavy, compactly woven, good quality fabric from Mizoram. It is known for warp yarns, warping, weaving and intricate designs that are made by hand.
Tawlhloh, in Mizo language, means 'to stand firm or not to move backwards.' Tawlhlohpuan, which holds high significance in the Mizo society, is produced all across the state, with Aizawl and Thenzawl being the important production centres. On the other hand, Mizo Puanchei is a colourful Mizo shawl, which is considered as the most colourful among the Mizo handloom products. It is an essential possession for every Mizo lady and an important marriage outfit in the state.
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