(Last Updated on : 24/10/2016)
inhabiting the hills of Manipur
make and use baskets
of different shapes and sizes, for the purpose of fishing
. The Puram Chothe
and the Tarao tribes make and use Long baskets like the Meithei
women of the valley, in abundance. The technique of making Long baskets by the tribal belts is interesting. Firstly, the body of the basket is woven with bamboo
splits and is more or less a flat structure. Then it is placed over an upright wooden block which has an oval shaped tip. This wooden block is called Ram by the Puram Chothe tribe and it has a height of 60 centimetres and a diameter of 35 centimetres. A circular loop made of bamboo splits is then forced down the Ram from the top, thus pulling down the brim of the flat bamboo structure atop to fit into the circular loop. After getting the right shape, i.e., the bowl shape of the basket, the brim of the bamboo structure is tied firmly to the loop. The basket is then ready to use. This technique of making the Long basket differs somewhat from that employed by the Meitheis. The pattern of weave
employed also differs from that of the Meitheis.
Tik is a fishing basket made and used by the Maring
tribe, measuring 25 centimetres long with a narrow circular mouth and a square body, more or less the shape of a glass bottle. It is a single weave basket. Butu is a bamboo fishing basket used by the Monsang
tribe. It has a narrow neck, slightly broader mouth, bulges at the centre and a square bottom supported with stands at all four corners. Its lid is conical, be it a bamboo basket used by the Paomai tribe for fishing. It has a narrower neck, bulging body and slightly broader mouth and is a single weave basket.
The use of traps or Lu for catching fish in lakes
, creeks, streams, marshes etc. is an age old practice. In fact, fishing net itself is a type of trap. In the hills, only one particular type of Lu, called Soralu, is used. Sometimes, people living in the hill slopes but near the foothills, use a certain type of Lu, called Kabo-Lu, imitating a similar use by the people in the valley. The size of a particular Lu is determined by the size of the particular type of fish to be caught, and the depth of the water where the Lu is going to be laid. Hence, Lus are made and used as per the specific conditions. One very interesting thing is the forgone practice of using Nganaplu by the villagers of Fayang. Observing that a certain type of small bird called Urit was as tasty as the Nganap fish, these people started referring to the Urit as Nganap and the Lu used for catching these small birds came to be termed as Nganaplu. The villagers of Tentha use a Lu called Lulu for catching Ngaprum, an eel like fish, in deep waters. The Lulus are taken on canoes, and laid in the deep waters with the aid of long bamboo poles, to which these Lus are firmly bound.
Almost all the fishing traps have sharp, pointed projections, like the Shous found inside the fishing baskets. The place of fixing the Shou varies according to different traps. These Shous prevent the caught fish from escaping once captured in the Lu. In case of fishing baskets, the Lu, the lid or any other material used for covering the open end is removed first and then the caught fish are poured out. The Tangkhuls
of Hundung village use a bamboo tube having a lid and a strap, to contain the caught fish. The apparatus is known as Khoishum.
The binding weaves, as observed in these Lus, differ considerably from one particular type of Lu to another. Different types of binding weaves are used for the varied Lus. The people who make and sell the Lu called Taothum, and those who make such traps for their own use, keep the Lu and the Shou separately after making them. It is only at the time of actual use that the Shou is inserted inside the Lu. For the trap makers of Manipur, its a taboo for unmarried youth to drill holes for the particular type of Lu known as Saralu. The job is done only by married men. The Lus are mostly made by the men folk. However, the Lu known as Taothum is sometimes made in great numbers by the women folk. Besides, every individual makes a Lu at home, assisted in the work by his/her friends and relatives. This form of collective work is termed as Khulang, whereby everybody helps one another in making the traps. The Taothum is very much lighter in weight than the other Lus. When laying the traps in the Loktak Lake
of Manipur, the basic technique applied is to float the Lu on its belly on the surface of the lake, with the Shou on the upper side so that the fish coming in along with the waves can easily enter into the trap through the gaps in the belly of the Lu. The Shou then naturally prevents the fish from escaping.
Bamboo and Cane Crafts of Manipur
Crafts of Manipur
Basket Weaving Techniques in Manipur
Tribes of Manipur, Indian Tribals
Cane and Bamboo Products of Manipur
Baskets used by Tribes of Manipur
Fishing Baskets of Meitheis, Valley of Manipur
Fishing in Indian Villages