Kuvelu Tetseo in Chi pi Khwu – the chief of chiefs’ shawl or the shawl of merit.
“Traditionally, it’s only to be worn by someone who has done something extraordinary or honorable.
In the old days, only a married couple who held the feast of merit for the entire village could wear this shawl. The rows of patterns are added in batches after consecutive feasts, and the embroidery on each set of patterns is stitched within a day before the sunset.
We wear it during our performances when we are representing our state or tribe. It generates curiosity and works as a conversation starter.”
Inputs from Mercy Tetseo.
Photographed at the night market in Kohima in December 2012.