(Last Updated on : 14/05/2011)
The tribals of Nagaland are adept at crafting. Their crafts have attained a commercial proportion and in demand not only in India but also abroad. Over the years tribal crafts have created an impact amongst the foreign tourists. The important handicrafts of the Nagas include woodcarvings, bamboo work, pottery, and black smithy.
The Wanchos, Konyaks and Phom tribes are some of the finest wood carvers in India. The icons generally carved are mithun head, hornbill, human figure, elephant, tiger etc. The log-drums or xylophones are laboriously hollowed out of the trunk of a big tree and are masterpieces which best defines the Naga's skill in wood work. An interesting example of the woodwork can be seen in the Angami village which are the Kharus-the wooden gate. The wooden gates or Kharus are made from a single solid piece of wood. Each Kharu has motifs etched on it.
or metal crafts is a more recent addition in the list of Naga crafts. It is the second most important craft particularly of Angamis. The Nagas are adept at making a variety weapons. The spear and the dao are important weapons of the Nagas. The spear is a multi purpose weapon, which consists of a blade and a wooden handle. The Rengmas are considered the best Naga black smith.
Endowed rich forests, the Nagas fully utilize their resources. The forests in Nagalands are rich in bamboo and cane and therefore it is obvious that bamboo and cane crafts
are an ancient tradition. Naga baskets are meant to serve two purposes one for storage and the other for day-to-day use. Other than baskets the Nagas also make mats and shields with bamboos. Necklaces, armlets and leggings are made from cane.
Nagas are also adept in weaving
. The conventional Naga shawl called angami naga is a black shawl with thick bold embroidered animal motifs. The animal motifs usually consist of figures of elephants, camels and regular motifs in bright green, red, yellow and white. The dress materials are woven by the females on the traditional looms. The designs, colour and motifs depict tales of the Nagas. For the tribes, the handloom products that they make are similar to souvenirs and therefore it can at best be described as the throb of life itself. With technology making inroads in the life of the Nagas, the handloom industry
of the Nagas has found a scope of expansion. The traditional patterns and the rich vibrant colours have harmoniously fused with modern garments. They have found a place not only in the national market but in the international market as well.