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Risa Textile

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, Tripura’s traditional tribal attire ‘Risa’ was granted a Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

 About Risa

  • Risa is a traditionally handwoven cloth primarily used as a female upper garment, but it also serves as headgear, a stole, or a gift to express respect.
  • Believed to have existed before the rule of the Manikya kings, who governed Tripura for over 500 years from the 15th century.
  • Common in almost all 19 indigenous tribal communities of Tripura, each community has its own unique design for Risa.
  • The traditional Tripuri female attire comprises three components: Risa, Rignai, and Rituku.
  • Rignai: Worn as the lower garment, Rignai is an indigenous variation of the saree found in mainland India.
  • Rikutu: Used as a wrap or similar to a ‘chunri’ or ‘pallu’ of the Indian saree. It is also utilized to cover the heads of newly married Tripuri women.

Significance of Risa

  • Risa holds crucial social, cultural, and religious significance in Tripura.
  • Adolescent Tripuri girls receive their first Risa to wear during an event called Risa Sormani, typically between the ages of 12 to 14.
  • Used in religious festivals like Garia Puja by tribal communities and worn as a turban by men during weddings and festivals. It also functions as a cummerbund over the dhoti and as a headscarf for young girls and boys.
  • Doubles as a muffler during winters and as a makeshift hanger to hold infants on mothers’ backs.
  • Presented as a mark of honour to distinguished recipients, reflecting its cultural and social significance.
Majuli masks in Assam gets GI Tag

·       Originating from Majuli, the largest river island in the world and the hub of Assam’s neo-Vaishnavite tradition, mask-making has been practiced since the 16th century.

·       These handmade masks are primarily used in bhaonas, which are theatrical performances conveying devotional messages under the neo-Vaishnavite tradition introduced by Srimanta Sankardeva.

·       The masks portray a variety of characters including gods, goddesses, demons, animals, and birds, such as Ravana, Garuda, Narasimha, Hanuman, Varaha, and Surpanakha.

·       They range in size from face masks (mukh mukha) to full head and body masks (cho mukha), taking different durations to create.

·       Materials used for making the masks include bamboo, clay, dung, cloth, cotton, wood, and others found in the riverine surroundings of the artisans.

·       The tradition of mask-making is closely associated with the sattras, or monasteries, which are centres of religious, social, and cultural reform in Assam. Majuli houses 22 sattras, with the practice concentrated in four of them.

·       While traditionally used for bhaonas, efforts have been made to expand the use of masks by incorporating them into various contemporary contexts such as gifting, tourism, exhibitions, and galleries.

·       Additionally, Majuli manuscript painting, another art form originating from the 16th century and practiced on manuscripts made from the bark of the sanchi or agar tree, also received a GI tag.

·       Majuli manuscript painting is patronized by the Ahom kings and continues to be practiced in every sattra in Majuli.


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