Tribal Crafts of Nagaland

Tribal Crafts of Nagaland


Tribal craft covers diverse areas: The Nagas decorate even the most deadly weapons of warfare -- their daos and spears are decorated with hair dyed bright red with manjit and blue from indigo. The jewellery used by Naga women is simple. Necklaces of beads of cornelian, grass, turned wood beads, silver, and cowries are used. The stones and beads are usually imported but the workmanship is entirely local. Blacksmithy is a relatively new craft which began after the 18th century. Konyaks are experts at this. In the olden days, tradition required a Naga smith to observe food restrictions while at work; this is no applicable. Agricultural implements like the dao, axe, hoe, scraper, and sickle, and weapons like spear heads, butts, arrow heads, and muskets, as well as ornamental spears for dancing, are all crafted locally by the Konyaks. Muzzle loading guns and a variety of pistols are also made. The Nagas make their earthen pots without a wheel. Pots are produced by a few select villages. Exclusively a woman's craft, the pots are shaped by hands; the wheel is not used. The women make plain round earthen cooking pots with flattened out-turned rims. A good sticky light-brown clay mixed with red and grey clay which has been allowed to season for a year is usually used. Most of the pots are made for use at home and their sizes vary according to the use to which they are put. The firing of the pots is done outside the village, either at the sunset hour or early in the morning and precautions are taken against the outbreak of fire.

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