(Last Updated on : 01/01/2009)
North East India is the abode of a large number of tribes and sub-tribes. They possess a vigorous craft tradition and every tribe excels in craftsmanship. The superiority manifests itself in the various craft items which stand the evidences of their dexterity.
The crafts of North East India viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura have a rich craft tradition that speculates on their creations. Each state presents their speciality in craftsmanship. Arunachal Pradesh presents an ambit of crafts including carpet making, masks, painted wood vessels, bamboo and cane crafts, weaving, woodcarvings, jewellery. Other miscellaneous crafts like hand made pottery, brass cutting, silver works etc are also being presented by the artisans of Arunachal Pradesh. They also make numerous articles with goat hair, ivory, boar`s tusks, beads of agate, and other stones as well as of brass and glass. The crafts of North East India have a rich variety such as the people of Assam have excelled in a rich variety of arts and crafts. The cyclorama of crafts encompass handloom weaving, cane and bamboo works, sholapith, brass and bell metal works, ivory, wood-work, sholapith, pottery and fiber craft. Handloom weaving comprises the culture of endi, muga and mulberry silk.
The crafts of North East India have a spectacular range of variety. The artisans of Manipur have contributed to the richness and variety of Indian culture with its peculiar blend of tribal traditions and Vaishnavism. Of the numerous colourful crafts of Manipur, their textiles, strong bell metal bowls, cane and bamboo and mats made of spongy reeds can be traced as having rich artistry. One of the states of North east India, Manipur is also well known for its gold and gold plated jewellery- earrings, necklace, armlets and bracelets. Beautiful dolls and toys of straw and clay are also remarkable craftsmanship of Manipur. The North East Indian crafts are made wealthier by the decent crafts of the Nagaland that incorporate weaving, basketry, woodwork and jewellery making, pot making, products made out of shell and beads, birds` wings and flowers, woodcarvings generally associated with the religious beliefs and practices, apart from preparing objects for daily use like utensils etc.
The North East Indian crafts have been enriched by the distinct craftsmanship of Meghalaya which is known for various art and crafts and culturally very rich in the area of dance and music as well. Cane and bamboo holds a prime place. Artistic textile weaving and woodcarving is practiced in Garo hills. Silk weaving of Endi silk is very famous. Carpet weaving, ornaments, musical instruments are other specialities. But the unique craft of this state is Pineapple fiber articles a in which fiber from its leaves is utilized for making various types of nets, bags and purses. Being the domicile of a plenty of skilled artisans, Mizoram showcases decent variations in crafts like weaving, bamboo and cane craft, pipes, jewellery and musical instruments, bamboo and cane work. The residents of a huge number of tribes, Tripura keeps the tradition of a huge array of crafts that adds to the glory of the North East Indian crafts. Handloom is the most important craft of the state. The foremost feature of Tripura handloom is vertical and horizontal stripes with scattered embroidery in different colours. It is followed by cane and bamboo craft. The well admired handicraft items are bamboo screens, lamp stands, tablemats, sholapith, woodcarving, silver ornaments and other crafts that are practiced. The people of this state follow simplicity as the hallmark of brass and bell metal articles provided in Tripura.
The crafts of North East India has a vast variety as the artistry differs from one state to another and each carries a distinct style that stands alone in the Indian market. The culture and the dexterity of the people add variety to the rich tradition of crafts of North East India and broadly of India.