Book explores importance of beads in Arunachali society
NEW DELHI: The tradition of beads has been embedded in the lives of the people of Arunachal Pradesh from time immemorial and a new book explores the oral history, gender questions, social dynamics and tribal relationships related to this ornament.
There are several types of beads worn by people in the northeastern state with saanjay tassang, tado, lebu, lancha, sante pyage and pilya papu among few of them.
Saanjay tassang is blue in colour, small in size and tubular in form while tado is a yellow coloured small bead in tubular form.
Lebu beads are light brown in colour and come in various shapes such as round, circular, roughly oval, and hexagonal.
Lancha is a small tubular bead in chocolate colour, sante pyage has thin lining all over its surface and pilya papu has a glassy appearance and is of spherical shape.
In "Beads of Arunachal Pradesh: Emerging Cultural Context," published by Niyogi Books, Sarit K Chaudhuri and Sucheta S Chaudhuri describe the economic, cultural and ritual significance of beads, their historical relation to migration and popular beliefs, classification mechanism, legends and history around them and ethnic specifications.
Despite the impact of globalisation even in rural areas, the popularity of beads has not diminished among the people.
Beads are used as a bartering item and usually take the place of money even now. Beads are a status symbol in Arunachali society.
"Brides bring 'tadoks' (beads) from their parental homes and these become the property of the husbands' families, thus elevating the family status," the book says.
According to the authors, beads are worn also to mark the wearer's social and cultural status during festivals, cultural events and even at the reception of important people.
"The role of beads as an identity has become more important with increase in ethnic aspirations. In this age of globalisation, global events influence even the remotest area.
Fashion shows are spreading fast throughout the Apatani society. Beads are displayed here, elaborately showcasing their ethnic identity and aesthetic sensibilities," they say.
Beads are worn in offices, market places and even in agricultural fields.
The prices of beads depend on their age and size.
"The more the age and size, the higher the price. Often the beads are graded into different classes such as first, second and third. The first class, consisting of oldest beads, is the costliest and is highly regarded by people," the book says.