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Miscellaneous Arts and Crafts in Nagaland
(about Nagaland Introduction / Factfile)

SUNGKONG CALL OF THE LOG DRUM - An Exhibition of Naga Art Objects

Kharu ( the wooden-gate)
Musical instruments
In the traditional Indian concept there is no clear-cut distinction between arts and crafts. The sanskrit term shilpa includes both because it was felt by the ancients that art and craft are governed by the originality of expression and aesthetic consciousness.

The arts and crafts of Nagaland are inseperable for they are mostly associated despite their utilitarian aspects, with socio-religious rituals and ceremonies.

Pottery is not a widely practiced craft in Nagaland. It is restricted to women. Revolving wheel is not used and the Naga tribal women have their own unique method of making pottery with hands. Usually the techniques vary according to the tribes and the geographical areas they inhabit. The most peculiar feature of Naga pottery is that the designs and motifs have been inspired by the designs of the textiles.

Pottery Making
a) Preparation of Clay

Either sticky brown clay or red and gray clay as the case may be, is moistened with water and pounded vigorously. The pounded mass is then kneaded well with water by hand into very stiff solid dough. A round lump of clay is struck from top to make a flat base. To keep the clay moist, water is sprinkled. It is then slapped and worked with the right hand till it forms a sort of cap over the clenched left hand. After the rim is formed, it is then placed upward on the ground and further worked on with damped fingers of both hands. First with an upward motion and then with a circular motion around the pot till a rough shape is formed. wedding wear options for older and mature brides

It is then left in the sun to dry for sometime. When it gets hardened the final shaping is done with mushroom shaped stop of baked clay. It is held against the inner surface by the left hand while the right hand taps the rather rough and thick surface from outside with shaping stick to give a right form to a pot. Usually any patterns and designs are imprinted on pot at this stage. The pots when finished have round bottom with overturned rim. They are then dried in the sun for days together before firing.

b) Firing of the pots
The month of December and January are chosen for making and firing of pots. Generally, firing of pots is done outside the village at about sun-set or early morning to avoid fire from spreading.

To fire the pots, a low platform of dried bamboo about 10cms from ground is built. On this, layers of pots are laid upside down and dried bamboo reeds are piled on them covering from all sides. Then it is fired.

c) When to use
The baked pot, when required, may be fired again by heating the pot over the hearth with the paddy husks inside it. When it is properly cooled, a cup of rice water is poured into it and boiled till the rice water overflows. The burning of husks and boiling of rice water in the pot before use, removes the taste of newly baked clay and ensures durability.

finished pots prepared by Phom Potters

Miscellaneous Arts and Crafts in Nagaland