Item Id: 376
Gamosa is a unique identity of Assamese Society. This small piece of cloth has high esteem and wide usage in Assamese culture. Gamosa is one unique cloth article in it's usage and looks, nowhere in the rest of India something like 'Gamosa' is found. Gamosa is also known as 'Bihuwaan', as it is an essential part of Bihu festival of Assam.
Gamosa is of rectangular shape, around 2 feet in width and 4 feet in height, closer to the shape of a towel. It's white in colour with red borders. One or two borders on the width, are woven with very artistic embroidery. The raw materialused for weaving Gamosa is cotton. But some gamosa used in special occassions are made of Silk too. Though it's pretty simple, weavers show their artistic talents in the motifs of a gamosa.
- Though it may be used daily to wipe the body after a bath (an act of purification), the use is not restricted to this.
- It is used to cover the altar at the prayer hall or cover the scriptures. An object of reverence is never placed on the bare ground, but always on a gamosa.
- It is used by the farmer as a waistcloth (tongali) or a loincloth (suriya); a Bihu dancer wraps it around the head with a fluffy knot (see picture).
- It is hung around the neck at the prayer hall (naamghar) and was thrown over the shoulder in the past to signify social status.
- Guests are welcomed with the offering of a gamosa and tamul (betel nut) and elders are offered gamosas (referred to as bihuwaan in this case) during Bihu.
One can therefore, very well say, that the gamosa symbolizes the life and culture of Assam.
Assamese society can't be imagined without Gamosa. The most ineterestingly it's not losing it's popularity and importance with time unlike other traditional elements of Assamese society. It has also found a place in the modern fashion world.
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