Traditional Dresses of the Zou Tribe in India

Zou CostumeThe Zou tribes in India (written in Myanmar as Zo) have various traditional clothes. Many of these clothes are commonly used by men and women in olden days. The Zou people have a very long story about their traditional dresses. They are traditionally used in various occasions and the significances are many. They are the pride and privilege of the Zou people wherever they are. There could hardly be any household where any one of these traditional clothes is totally absent.

The history of the Zou traditional dresses goes way back in 1950, when Col. Khenzamung was the commander of II Chin Rifles in Shwedaung village in Burma requested Sein Maung (a textile man) to make Tuolpuon (the oldest Zou/Zo traditional dress) for himself. Along with that, Zou traditional skirt (Zou Niih), Tangching and puonjem (stripe dress) was also made for the first time. Tuolpuon is the dress which is used my men folk and Zou niih is used by the women folk while performing cultural dances.

Commonly Used Traditional Dresses

The present traditional dresses of the Zou tribe are mostly modified from the old traditional dresses The Zou people have different kinds of traditional clothes, namely Zou puondum, puonlaisan, Zou niih, Zou puon-ah.

Zou Puondum: Puondum is mostly used by the women folks. Puondum cannot be worn every time as and when one likes. It has to be worn on particular occasions like death ceremonies, festivals and winter. Puondum is in fact, the most important dress of the Zous, as it serves the purpose of numerous customary or cultural importances like marriage, death, divorce, fine, etc.

Puonlaisan: Puonlaisan is one of the most important traditional clothes of the Zou people after Puondum. It was generally worn by men in times of Sa-aih/Gaal-aih (Boasting festivals), festive event and on joyous occasions. It is usually woven in red, pink, yellow, black and white colors and the edges are embellished with a white cloth.

Zou Tuolpuon3. Tuolpuon: This is a raw cotton cloth hand woven commonly used by men in olden days. Made of locally grown cotton, it is thick and white in color without any design. It is wear by the men folks while performing traditional dances.

4. Zou Niih: It is the traditional lower garment worn by the Zou women in olden days. This skirt is believed to be firstly brought out from Mualbem in the Chin Hills. It is made of red and black combination. This traditional dress is used by the women folk while performing traditional dances and some other Zou festivals.

Customised Zou Costumes

Written by
Nuamneimawi Tungnung
Fashion Designer