Rig Veda, ta'ntra, nUl, and sUtra

jpo at uts.cc.utexas.edu jpo at uts.cc.utexas.edu
Fri Apr 4 17:03:26 UTC 1997

We really do not know the type of loom that forms the basis of the
metaphor. It appears that the weaver was located not behind the warp (as in
modern hand-looms) but on the side where she (and it is mostly women!) can
pass the shuttle back and forth. I have seen one reference that speaks of a
pair of women weaving (can't think of the source); if so there may have
been two women on either side of the loom passing the shuttle back and

>If I am not mistaken, in the looms I have seen in Tamilnadu, the movement  of
>the shuttle is sideways with respect to the weaver, and not towards and away
>from the weaver. The width of the cloth is fixed by the size of the loom and
>it is the length of the cloth which is variable. In fact, it is because of
>this nature of looms, all the words for cloth in Tamil/Dravidian are derived
>from words meaning 'to cut'. Cf. words 'tuNi', 'tuNTu', 'kURai', 'aRuvai',
>etc. Is the Indo-European loom conceptually different?
>S. Palaniappan

Patrick Olivelle
Director, Center for Asian Studies
Chair, Department of Asian Studies
WCH 4.134 (Mail Code G9300)
University of Texas
Austin, TX 78712-1194

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