Carpets of Manipur

Traditionally, the northeastern belt weaves hand-knotted woollen carpets with bold colourful designs on upright wooden frame looms. The method of weaving and the motifs and colour schemes are similar in the entire belt.

The warp of the carpet is cotton and is mounted on the upper beams while the woven fabric is wound on the lower beam. Knotting is done, with great skill and dexterity, by looping the woollen thread around the warp. The rod used for looping is placed along the warp. When a motif or a new colour is introduced, the ground colour is cut and the new colour thread is inserted by twisting into a single warp thread and looping. The loops are finally cut with a knife and a pile is created. The number of knots per square inch could vary from 40 to 100.

The patterns are mainly geometrical, using different colours to build the shapes. Bold floral designs or symbolic Tibetan motifs are also used. The colours are bright and bold and vegetable dyes are used.