Crafts of NorthEast India: A glimpse at the handicrafts and artistic culture!

Rich in traditions and cultures, the northeastern regions are also known for their age-old arts and crafts, which have gained recognition across the globe.

Local Samosa
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Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, northeastern states are not just surrounded by the hills but the beauty that flows in the air! The eight states, mainly, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura are also masters of various arts and crafts as the home to different tribes. These northeast states comprise various handicrafts and artistic works. This state-wise bifurcation of arts and carts highlights how significantly rich the cultural arena flows in all the North East states! 

Arunachal Pradesh 

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The native tribes of this state have been involved in handicrafts for centuries. While different regions specialise in different types of crafts, Arunachal Pradesh and its tribes are known for making bamboo and cane products, masks, weaving with both natural and synthetic dyes, carpets, wood carvings, ornamental art, and more, all by hand. Most households here use items made from these handicrafts.

Talking about the tribes, the Monpas are popular for making carpets, while the Khamptis are known for wood carvings and more. Arunachalis are also known for their paper making, smithy work, carpentry, ivory work, and pottery skills. Most of the materials for these handicraft items are sourced from within the state.


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Another northeastern state, Assam has been popular for the richness of its culture. Various handicrafts and handloom crafts are known in the state. Different areas and regions of Assam are known for different crafts and cane and bamboo products are also one of them. Naming a few would be pottery, wooden crafts, bamboo and cane furniture, handmade bags, handmade tableware, straw bags, sitalpati, jute products, japi(hat), metal crafts, toys, masks, jewellery, handlooms. 

The traditional gamosa and shawl find a special mention in the crafts of Assam. You will be amazed to know that two villages in the state namely, Hajo and Sarthebari villages have established their names in the world of metal crafts. Masks are also an integral part of the art and culture of Assamese. Above all, Assam is known as silk fabric and it has received recognition from all over the world. While a different type of silk is available here, the Muga silk is renowned enough to be world-famous!


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This Himalayan state has received great recognition for its arts and crafts and for offering a wide variety of crafted products to the world! The women of Manipur are known to be excellent weavers of cotton textiles while the state enjoys a special name, 'Laichamphi', meaning cotton cloth for this craft. Manipur is also popular for Block printing where the colourful block-printed towels or as it is traditionally called, 'Khamen Chatpa' are a status symbol and are often presented to the village chiefs and warriors. Along with that, crafts like hand-woven and embroidered textiles, mats made of water reed, Manipuri dance dolls, shawls and blankets, Manipuri bed covers of Moirang phee, cane and bamboo work, wood carving, and more are part of the state's craft culture.


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Along with its living root bridges, 'the abode of clouds', as Meghalaya is fondly called, the state is also popular for its waterfalls and its arts and crafts. Among the most prominent are woodcarving and cane and bamboo work as the markets of Meghalaya are full of wood material. The craftspersons are masters in weaving cane mats, winnowing fans, caps, umbrellas, stools, and baskets. However, the state is known for craft work called 'Tlieng ’ which is a special kind of mat weaved by the Khasis tribe and is highly durable.

You would find here handicrafts such as baskets, open Weave carrying Baskets, closed weave carrying baskets, small storage baskets, coiled cane containers, large storage baskets and more. But the list does not end here as Meghalaya is also popular for hand-crafting, rain shields and headgears, winnowing trays & fans, mud shovels, shields made of bamboo plints, Khasi bamboo comb, and pipes.


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Mizoram is popular for a variety of bamboo crafts. The skilled artists make items like baskets, utensils, hats, handcrafted furniture, flower vases and decorative items with bamboo and cane. However, the beautiful state of Mizoram is also popular for its skill of weaving. The artists use vibrant colours and traditional designs and patterns on their looms to create various fabrics. The local tribes of Mizoram are popular for weaving their own shawls and traditional dresses.


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The culturally rich state Nagaland is not just popular for its traditional ethos but also because of the artwork. For centuries, the tribes of Nagaland have been making the best of local resources to create wonderful items. They source the product materials from farms, fields and forests to make their own clothes, utensils, medicines, and aesthetic and ritualistic items. The handicrafts of Nagaland shine through the tradition of Nagas where they use vibrant colours and unique designs in the fabrics making them look attractive. Amongst the many, woodwork, weaving, cane and bamboo products, pottery and metal crafts are prominent.


Image Courtesy: Sikkim Tourism

Sikkim has always showcased its cultural confluence through arts and crafts, reflecting the traditions of the state. With impressive, radiant crafts, the local tribes of Sikkim are known for their skills in wood carvings and carpet weaving. One of the traditional crafts here is the Thangka painting, which was initially started by a priest to spread Buddhist teachings. Over time, it was passed on to the common people as well. Another major craft is the Choktse table, a foldable table available in various designs and shapes.


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Tripura is popular for its different ethnic groups involved in different artworks. The groups are masters of crafts with bamboo and cane work. Some of the state's popularity lies in room dividers, decorated wall panels, silver jewellery, lamps, furniture of cane, ornamental articles, bamboo dining table mats and floor mats. On the other hand, Tripura is also known for its handloom that consists of vertical and horizontal stripes with colourful embroidery on the fabric!



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