Bhopal: Phiruk, a ceremonial basket of Meitei community of Imphal exhibited at IGRMS online exhibition

BHOPAL: Phiruk, a ceremonial basket of Meitei community of Imphal, Manipur is the fifth exhibit of the Week of December.

Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS) has displayed the exhibit on its website and social media pages. The exhibition began from Monday and is a part museum’s popular online series.

Collected from Meitei community of Imphal, Manipur in 1978 by the museum,the height and circumference of the rim of the ceremonial basket are 46 cm and 120 cm.

Praveen Kumar Mishra, Director, IGRMS says Phingaruk/Phiruk is the special storage basket used by the Meitei community in the valley of Manipur.

The etymological meaning of Phiruk came from ‘Phi’ means cloth and ‘ruk’ means basket. Phiruk is used only at the time of marriage function for carrying sweets, betel leaves and nuts, fruits and flowers, clothes and ornaments, from the residence of the groom to the bride's residence.

Womenfolk in traditional attire carry these marriage presentations during the procession held by the family of the groom during Heichingpot (a ceremony held prior to marriage function) and on the auspicious day of Luhongba (Marriage).

According to a customary practice, the woman who led the marriage procession must have her parents, parent-in-laws, husband and children alive to bless with fertility and prosperity, Mishra adds.

This Phiruk should contain some quantity of rice, tobacco leaf, raw cotton containing seed, Pan-manao (a small tuber of the species arum), Shing-manao (small ginger) and two cakes of Meitei Thum (salt) overlapping one another with two coins inside. These items should be wrapped and tied with white cloth and stuff in the basket. It is then covered with white cloth from the rim and lidded to represent the first Phiruk carried in the procession.

He says on the fifth day after marriage, family and relatives of the bride visits the groom's house to open the Phiruk and observes all those items to spell the fortunes of the newlywed couple.

The diamond shaped designs on the basket are indigenously prepared by twilling method where naturally dyed black colour wefts are skillfully inserted in the weave. These designs are believed to have taken out from the traditional textile motifs, Mishra says.

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