Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Monday, Feb 02, 2004

About Us
Contact Us
Metro Plus Kochi Published on Mondays & Thursdays

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Property Plus | Quest | Folio |

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Madurai    Thiruvananthapuram    Visakhapatnam   

Printer Friendly Page Send this Article to a Friend

On a tribal trail

Pics. by K. K. Mustafah

TWENTY-SEVEN-year-old Anarull of Barapeta district in Assam squats firmly on a mat made out of `seetalpatti,' ready to field any questions about the bamboo furniture that is on display as a part of the North East Crafts Fair at the T.D.M. Hall. Back home, as a master trainer, his job includes visiting villages and advising families on pursuing the small-scale industry of making furniture out of the ubiquitous bamboo growth in the region. He regularly scans contemporary magazines and views enough Hindi films to get ideas on new designs and what city dwellers would fancy. "I also look at furniture made of wrought-iron and wood and copy the same in bamboo," he confesses.

As visitors stroll past he informs the fastidious, hopefully prospective buyers that the bamboo is chemically treated so as to be termite and fungal resistant and unquestionably durable. The costliest variety of furniture is crafted out of `shundi' cane. Even as Anarull is confident of his products, he says that on his maiden trip to Kochi, he is simply testing the waters. "If sales are good, next time we will bring more than just sofa sets and tables."


Every region is laden with customs and traditions that invariably wind their way into its crafts. People of various ethnic origins have settled along the fertile Brahmaputra valley and their art reflects these different strains. Officials of the Purbashree Emporium, Chennai, which is organising this fair, inform that the craft of making toys, puppets and wood works was not driven so much as a business activity as one of keeping alive a local tradition. From pots and pans to beer mugs and bangles, the cane craftsman can create it all; every requirement in the house can be catered for. Each generation passed on the craftsmanship and with the help of simple raw materials, artisans created sophisticated objects of art. But today the objective is to promote the sales of handicrafts, increase awareness about the same and expose the craftsmen to the new markets.

Weaving is a passion among all the North Eastern communities. A diligently pursued activity in every tribal family, it is demonstrated here on a mobile loom. A lady (only the women weave!) deftly works the spindle on her `yongkham' creating a stunning rose pink sari out of silver and cotton thread. By her side sits an elderly woman guiding her on the patterns that she must incorporate; in the North-East designs are defined by certain norms, which have to be adhered to. Geometric patterns, especially the rhombus are freely used. To the untrained, saris of all the North Eastern States may look similar but the staff informs you that they vary in texture, colour and design. The Moyramphi sari from Manipur is in the league of temple saris of the South; the Manipuri `mekhala' is a sarong tied around the waist. Also on exhibit are the typical dresses worn by the women, skirts in red and black is the overriding choice here. Shawls bear typical tribal emblems of spears, cocks and stylised lions. Dolls from Tripura, handbags from Manipur and dried flowers from Nagaland; the exhibition, which is on till February 8, is worth a visit, if only to get a glimpse of a relatively unknown region of our country.

SUNANDA KHANNA

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Madurai    Thiruvananthapuram    Visakhapatnam   

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Property Plus | Quest | Folio |


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |

Comments to : thehindu@vsnl.com   Copyright 2004, The Hindu
Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu