This traditional sling bag is the quintessential Naga accessory. Thebvo literally translates to 'nettle' in the language of the Chakhesang Khuzhami tribe. It is made of hand-picked hand spun stinging nettle hand woven on a back strap loom. This wear-resistant and waterproof nettle cloth is perfect for a sturdy hands-free bag. True to the self-sustaining village economy, each bag is entirely handmade - from the hand-picked, hand-spun, hand-woven nettle textile, to the hand-sewn seams which use decorative finishing stitches.
While each Naga tribe has a uniquely identifiable weave, the Thebvo Lakho bag, is carried by the Khuzhami community of the Chakhesang tribe. For those in the know, a tribe can be identified by the pattern that they wear or carry. This bag is commonly used by children to carry books to school (and often a mandatory part of the uniform); by church goers; and by farmers.
Interestingly, the traditional Naga bag does not have a closure, since there is no percieved threat in a culture where intrinsic values such as honesty and communal ownership lead to a high level of trust.
This is the authentic strip-woven hand-sewn Thebvo Naga sling bag. The spinning and weaving of stinging nettle is increasingly rare. Stinging nettle is foraged from the wild once a year, in early winter. In a long and labourious process, strips of nettle bast fibre (stripped off the stalks), are retted, dried, thigh-reeled into twine, and hand-spun using a drop spindle. The yarn is then soaked in a coarse local rice broth, which naturally bleaches and softens the fiber. It is repeatedly soaked and sun-dried until the desired tone is attained. It is woven on backstrap looms.The flexibility of the portable loom enables women to work from their own home. The fiber-to-fabric journey is entirely local and self-sustaining (although the cotton yarn, once local, is now sourced). Today stinging nettle is woven only by indigenous women of the Chakhesang tribe in remote Naga villages in the mountains of Northeast India.
This product is contemporary, and is exclusively designed and woven by Leshemi Origins for ARTISANS' Gallery, to sustain the local tradition of nettle weaving.
Bleaching of nettle yarn in rice broth
Natural dyeing of black
Locally foraged and hand-spun stinging nettle (urtica dioica), unbleached cotton
Body: 12in x 8in x 5in, total length including sling: 34in Body: 30cm x 21cm x 12cm, total length including sling: 87cm
Please note that the natural colors of nettle and decorative extra weft designs are unique and may vary from item to item. Wash nettle fabrics by hand in cold water, using ecological laundry products. Nettle softens with washing.
All our products are meticulously handmade by master artisans one piece at a time. Due to this process, there may be a variation from one item to the next. Such variations are inherent in the manufacturing of handmade products, so you may expect minor distinctions that will make your purchase special and truly one of a kind.
Product Dispatch & Shipping Notice
Please note that this item is handmade to order. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. Dispatched within 40 days of receiving your order. No refunds or returns.