The Rani Story – Every Manipuri Woman’s Dream
Traditional Manipur is abundant and exuberant in a number of hand woven textiles. In Northeast India, each community has authentic and indigenous specific designs and motifs. Manipur is at the zenith for perfection in had woven industries and it also has distinct place amongst textile zones in India. Practising weaving is of great interest and fascination, for Manipuri women. The motifs are woven with culture and traditions binding them compact, by the native women of Manipur since time immemorial.
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How exquisite and important is a collection of Kanjeevaram sarees to a South Indian woman? Paralleled to that nostalgic feeling is a collection of Rani Phi sarees for a Manipuri woman. ‘Rani-Phi’ is named after the pioneer of the sarees, Rani. Rani Phi motifs among other forms are very popular and are an integral component of any Manipuri woman’s wardrobe. Rani was inspired by natural designs like beautiful flowers, birds and different designs on clothes, even outside the state. She imagined how wonderful and lovely it would be, if such patterns are embroidered on “phi.” Those times, only Taj Mahal, flowers etc were the designs used. Rani took to her first experiment of using motifs of swans, lotus and leaves on the fabric. She was scared of the outcome and toiled to get them printed with perfection. She also started using silk threads for weaving the fabric. It was largely accepted and became a huge hit.