Cultural Significance of Pawndum: The Black Cloth of Mizoram


Last Updated on August 23, 2023 by

Hello Guys, I am glad to share my views on Pawndum of Mizoram. Pawndum is a traditional cloth worn by the people of Mizo community.

It is a piece of fabric which is rectangular in shape used by both men and women as a body wrap. Like other clothing textiles Pawndum is made of two loom widths.

You might be thinking, how is it made? While the transverse weft is always made of black yarn, the bold lengthwise or longitudinal stripe use dyed cotton. Sustainable Dyeing methods and techniques used are a combination of traditional natural dyes as well as the chemical dyes.

Making of Pawndum

Pawndum is rectangular in shape, the length is about 63″ and the breadth is about 44″ long. Basically Pawndum means “black cloth”, but it is not necessary it is of black colour only, it is made up of different colours but the stripes are usually black and red coloured.

Men and women wear Pawndum both as a casual garment as well as on special occasions and celebrations. It is wrapped around the waist such that it covers the lower part of the body till the feet.


Features of Pawndum

Recently there was news that five Mizo traditional puans (shawls) have received Geographical Identification (GI) tag, As said by Mizoram art and culture director Hmingthanzuala.

Hmingthanzuala said that Mizoram Centre allotted GIs to five Mizo community traditional shawls or wraparounds — Hmaram, Ngotekherh, Tawlhlohpuan, Pawndum and Mizo Puanchei, etc.

Historical Significance of Pawndum

Mr. B.Lalthangliana a Mizo historian described that the pawndum cloth was produced around 1700 AD when the Mizo tribes crossed the Tia river, an international boundary river between India and Myanmar.

Traditional uses of Pawndum

In olden times, young men usually also used pawndum as a night cover during their stay in men’s dormitory. It is also used by a girl as a Zawlpuan. It is also used by mourners when they carry a dead body to the graveyard.


Earlier,it was customary to wear the Pawndum for certain special occasions and marriages or used as an attire while performing ‘Khuallam’, one of the famous traditional dances of the Miso community but today it is mostly worn on days of mourning and death. Khuallam dance is a folk dance practice in the Indian state of Mizoram.

So you might be thinking what is the significance of this cloth of Mizoram? Let me tell you Guys It offers protection against the cold of the Lushai mountains, indicates various hues of celebration, bravery or mourning, and thus has just received a geographical identification tag.


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