Idu-Mishmi

The Idu-Mishmis are one of the major tribes inhabiting the North-eastern side of Central Arunachal Pradesh. They live mainly in the Lower Dibang Valley and are believed to be the first to migrate into North East from Burma. They are known for their sober nature, distinctiveness who take pride and honour in their deep-rooted values. Idu- Mishmis stand out due to their typical hairstyles and artistic patterns on their clothes. Linguistically, they fall under the Tibeto-Burman group.

A typical Idu house is rectangular in size made of bamboo, timber and thatch. Animists by belief, they stress in the existence of a high god and a host of sprits both benevolent and malevolent. Idus also believe pregnancy is blessing of the divine mother and have birth ceremonies.

During the major festivals of the Idus namely, ‘Reh’ and ‘Ke-meh-ha’, the colourful traditional handloom dresses are proudly worn by both males and females. The Idu Mishmis have two famous dances – the ritual dance is led by their priest or priestess and this is performed at the junction of Ai-ah, Ai-him, Mesalah or Rren. The fertility dance is celebrated on the final day of the Rren ceremony.

Idus are experts in handicraft and weaving. Women in particular are very good weavers and have retained this artistic heritage since the ancient period. Excellent coats and blouses with different exquisite designs are woven by the women. Their massive decorative sense is well reflected in the intricate designs. The Idu Mishmis have diamond designs and are woven on shawls, skirts, coats and bags. To add, their war coat is woven with nettle fibres, cotton and human hair.

Besides weaving, the Idu men are also excellent in making beautiful basketry items of bamboo and cane.

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