A Tsüngkotepsü or warrior shawl is more than just a piece of textile, it's a legacy. Legend has it, men of the Ao Naga tribe of Nagaland had to earn the right to wear this shawl by winning wars, and demonstrating exceptional bravery.
The shawl is black and red striped with a single white stripe in the middle, and contains depictions of animals and other symbols. Often, these symbols represent the sun, the moon and the stars, symbolic of victory, and fame.
Many animals such as tigers, bisons and lions are also depicted on the shawl, which are symbolic of the physical power and the valour of the warrior. The hornbill, a culturally significant bird whose feathers are used for in ceremonial costumes, is often depicted. Spears, arrows, and daos are also common motifs on the textile, and depicts the strength of the warrior.
In the earlier days, only men could wear this shawl, and it was considered taboo if women wore it. However, in the present day this shawl can be seen worn by men, women, and children alike.