Syrian embroidery, the first to find its way into Kerala, is no longer practised here. The embroidery actually practised now has been introduced...
Embroidery of Manipur
This area has a unique type of embroidery that uses one stitch, in deference to the weavers in the area. This is done in dark matching shade with untwisted silk thread on the border of the phanek (a lungi or lower body wrap worn by women). Colours in dark red, plum or chocolate are usually used. The embroidery is so artistically done that it does not clash with the weave and is often mistaken for it.
Akoybi embroidery is done in an elegant snake-like pattern or design, derived from the legendary snake, pakhamba (killed by the husband of a goddess, who later tried to atone for this act by imitating the pattern). Akoybi means circular and the design involves one circle joining the other, each broken further with a significant motif in shades of shades of red along with black and white. Hijay is another pattern where black and white, along with shades of pink thread are used in a continuous pattern.
Angami Naga shawls have animal motifs in black. This was previously called sami lami phee (which means warrior cloth of wild animals) and was given to brave distinguished warriors by the royalty, in recognition of their prowess and ability. The colours are bright green, red, yellow, and white. Abhala or mirror-embroidery work is done only on ras dance costume.
The indigenous inhabitants of Manipur are the meithei community. Their designs, called tindogbi, are inspired from a silk caterpillar sitting on a castor leaf and eating it. Possession of Shamilami fabric, which is a combination of weaving and embroidery, is considered a status symbol. Maibung is a natural design inspired from the natural finish of the wood.