IMPHAL, May 15: Renowned weaver and entrepreneur and popularly known as the maker of ‘Rani-Phi’, Chungkham Rani Devi passed away this morning at her residence at Wangkhei Lourembam Leirak. She was 80.
The youngest of eleven siblings – seven sisters and four sons, Rani was born to Chungkham Tolen, a farmer and carpenter by trade and Thabal, a weaver, on 1st March, 1932. She was married to Wangkheimayum Iboyaima. Some of the awards she had received include Certificate of Honour (1975), State Award for Master Craftsman (1979-80), National Certificate of Merit (1990) and Certificate of Honour by the All Manipur Women Voluntary Association (1991), besides first prizes in design competition at the 22nd All India Handloom Week (1976) and design competition for Artistic Textiles (1990).
She had participated in major national and international trade fairs such as the Surajkund Mela at Haryana, Crafts Bazar at Bombay and India International Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
Some of her popular designs of Rani Phi are Wakhong, Thambal, Kaanga, Chingthro, Siroy Lily, Takhelei etc. She had imparted training to more than 400 women in the making of Rani Phi and is recognized for her contribution in empowering women.