Crafts of Manipur

 

 

Manipur is an important constituent of the "seven-sister states" of Indian union and craft traditions of this state are profoundly entrenched. The people of Manipur are artistic and creative in their thinking and outlook. Every house possesses a loom, and Manipuris weave with a passion and style, unrivalled by any other state. Manipuri bed covers of Moirangfee and flower designs, silk and cotton sarees, scarves, blankets and shawls, in distinctive shades and weaves, make for an enchanting collection. A wide range of artistic handicrafts from bamboo, papier mache, decorative ivory, dolls and jewelry make for prized souvenirs. These exquisite handlooms and handicrafts are sold at Khwairamband market, the largest exclusive women's market in the country. Cane and Bamboo

Cane is the natural endowment of the forest resources in Manipur. Due to Jhum (Shifting) cultivation rampantly practiced in the hill areas, cane resources have been dwindling by way burning of the forest areas.

Bamboo, another forest resource is abundantly grown in Churachandpur, Jiribam, Tamenglong and Imphal districts of Manipur. It may be mentioned here that Manipur is the largest producer bamboo products after Tripura in the entire north east. Some of the bamboo products are sofa sets, Murhas, mats, basketry, tray, chair, table, flower vase, ashtray and other decorative and utility articles.

 

Wood Carving

Wood Carving is also a craft popular in Manipur. Woodcarving is a child of necessity in Manipur. Due to absence of proper transport and communication with other parts of India, craftsmen had to depend on wood as material for making various articles of utility. The main products are wooden tray, spoon and drum, etc. to name a few.

Textile Weaving

Loin Loom weaving is confined to womenfolk in Manipur. Originally, the raw material used was cotton yarn as woolen yarn was not known to the Manipuris before the Second World War. This craft is also known by the name of Laichamphi, which mean cotton cloth. The designs have now been commercialized on fly-shuttle looms; each and every house has a loin loom or a fly-shuttle loom in Manipur. However, loin loom weaving caters to the local demands and requirements only.

Dolls and Toys

Toys of Manipur made from cloth, cotton clay, wood and bamboo, etc. are caricatures of various animals and birds.

Stone-Carving

Stone carving is a very old traditional craft in the hill areas of Manipur. When a person dies, a memorial stone is usually erected near the village, which also facilitate provision of resting-place to long-distance travelers before they could reach the village in fresh mood. Through these engravement in stones, resting travelers could come to know about the achievements and good deeds of the deceased. At present, the craftsperson in Bishnupur district in Manipur are making many utility items like bowls, candle-stands, grinders, flower-vases, plates, etc.

Block Printing

Hand block printing is one of the most favorite art and craft in Manipur. The warriors and village chiefs were presented with Khamen Chatpa (handblock-printed towel) by the Maharajah as a token of their courage and leadership. This type of dress is also used in the religious ceremony. Printing on pillow-covers and bed-sheets are now very common in Manipur.

Kauna (Water Reed) Mat

Kauna is a type of reed usually grown in the wetlands and marshes. There are two typical types of the Kauna available in Manipur. This is often used for making mats, and cushion. Around 1,000 craftsperson are engaged in the Imphal valley of Manipur in this particular craft. This product is enjoying a very good demand in the local markets of Manipur.

Hand-Embroidery

This craft is being practiced by both men and women folks in Manipur. A fast-expanding craft, it involves a simple technique by mounting plain cloth on a help of a needle. Tablecloth bed-cover, handkerchief, T.V. covers, etc. are the major products. In Manipur, the portrait of prominent figures in the past were stitched and sewn with intricate dexterity.


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