Types of Tribal Crafts in Nagaland
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 is 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.
Black smithy or metal craft 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 multipurpose weapon, which consists of a blade and a wooden handle. The Rengmas are considered the best Naga black smith.
Bamboo and Cane Crafts
Endowed rich forests, the Nagas fully utilize their resources. The forests in Nagaland 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.
Weaving and Dyeing Crafts
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 colours. 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.
The pottery of Nagaland is one of the celebrated crafts. The pottery at Nagaland is a craft that is restricted to the women. It would not be wrong to say that pottery in Nagaland is a part of the Naga household. In Nagaland, pottery is made exclusively with the help of hands. The earthenwares made in Nagaland have functional value. The Tseminyu and Ungma villages of Nagaland are famous for their pottery.
The beautiful embroidery of Nagaland portrays the rich artistic caliber of the local craftsmen of the north eastern state of India. The local indigenous population of Nagaland design unique patterns on their shawls, clothes and other decorative items made up of cloth which reflects their cultural heritage. The splendid embroidery of the Angami Naga shawls has an internationally acclaimed status.
Nagaland earns huge revenues from the wood carving industry of the state. The beautifully designed wooden works portray the rich artistic caliber and imaginative skills of the local craftsmen. The tribes of Wanchos, Phom and Konyaks are known for their splendid mastery over the traditional art of wood carving which they have inherited.
The Traditional Jewellery of Nagaland is worn by both men and women especially during festive occasions. The ceremonial bell necklace of the tribal people is famous. The Classical Naga necklaces that are worn by tribal men and women often consist of a number of beaded strands. Naga warrior pendants are designed in the form of miniature trophy masks in order to symbolize their bravery.