Puanchei - Mizo Shawl

Puanchei is the most colourful and well-known Mizo puan

Lalit Bhatt
Lalit Bhatt

Puanchei, also known as Mizo shawl,  is an integral part of Mizo culture and is worn by women on special occasions such as weddings, festivals, and ceremonies. Puanchei has received Geographical indication (GI) tag.

Puanchei - Wrap around Skirt
Puanchei - Wrap around Skirt

The weaving of puanchei is a laborious process that involves great skill and patience. The shawl is typically made from cotton, but recently synthetic yarns are also used. The cotton yarn is dyed in vibrant colors using natural dyes derived from plants, fruits, and flowers. Puanchei is traditionally woven on loin loom. The weavers inserts the designs and motifs during the woven process. 

Puanchei is known for its intricate and colorful designs, which are inspired by nature, folklore, and tribal motifs. The shawl may feature patterns of flowers, animals, birds, and geometric shapes. The designs are often symbolic and carry a deeper meaning for the Mizo people.

Puanchei holds a special place in Mizo culture and is often used as a symbol of identity and status. The shawl is considered a prized possession and is passed down from generation to generation as a family heirloom. It is also used as a gift to show respect and honor to guests and dignitaries.

Apart from its cultural significance, puanchei has also gained popularity in the fashion industry. Many designers have incorporated the traditional Mizo shawl into their collections, adding a touch of ethnic charm and elegance to modern outfits. Puanchei is now widely available in the market, both in Mizoram and other parts of the country.

However, the commercialization of puanchei has also raised concerns about the authenticity and ethical production of the shawl. There have been instances of imitation and mass production of puanchei, which undermines the value and craftsmanship of the traditional handwoven shawl. It is important to support the local artisans and weavers who continue to keep the tradition alive and promote the genuine art of puanchei weaving.

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