The Ahoms are a community found largely in Assam. This community consists of the descendants of ethnic Tai people who accompanied the Tai prince Sukaphaa who established the Ahom kingdom (1228-1826). Many of those who accompanied Sukaphaa were unaccompanied males who married into the local communities. Some ethnic communities, like the Tibeto-Burman speaking Borahi people, were completely subsumed into the Ahom community. The kingdom the Ahom people established gave Assam its name. *
Assam lies in the North Eastern part of India.
A few Ahom (or Assamese) textiles that are on display in the Assam State Museum at Guwahati.
Cotton textiles are presented first and royal garments and costumes follow in the second half.
The textiles were in glass cases and in a minimally lit hall. The photographs taken without a flash therefore do no justice to the articles.
But I hope that these inadequate images will be successful in providing the reader with a glimpse of the beauty inherent in these weavings.
The Guwahati Museum collections showcases other categories of articles as well …but it was a delight to discover that textiles are the primary focus of the museum.
The people who created this art, probably had no idea that their creations would delight people in the future. The weavers, were probably unsung heroes …creating beauty just out of passion for ‘svaanto sukhaaye’ reasons – not for glory or for money but simply for the joy of creation! It would be foolish to say that this showcase is a tribute to those weavers, because they are all dead and are past caring for any such tributes…
This is at best, just an attempt to remotely share the joy of beholding the legacy left by some beautiful simple passionate but unknown people – a legacy of love, a legacy of beauty that I stumbled upon a few hundred years after it was created!
Feb 17, 2011
p.s. Large format images are available on request for students.