Crafts of Assam



Assam has a glorios tradition of Handicrafts. Handloom weaving is a way of life in Assam. Almost every household in the village has a prized possession of a loom. Cotton, Muga, Paat (Silk) and Endi are common fabrics widely used for weaving. Images or caricatures of animals, human figures, creepers, flowers, birds, cross borders etc. are favoured motifs embroidered on these handloom products.

The traditional garments with beautiful designed borders are mekhela-chaddar, Riha and Gamosa (Towels). The Laichangphi quilts in Cachar district are an industry by itself of Assam. Sualkuchi being the biggest silk production center is called as the 'Manchester of Assam'.

Jewelry, particularly of gold is a tradition in Assam. The Sonowal Kachari tribe collect gold from the birds of the rivers flowing down the Himalayas. The jewellers known as Sonari make exquisite Doog-Doogi, Bana, Jon-biri, Dhol-biri type lockets; Thuriya, Loka-paro and Keru earrings; Gaam-kharu bracelets and Gal-pata necklaces.

Rich with cane and bamboo forests, Assam has not only the raw material but also the fine artistic sense of making the cane furniture which are highly appreciated all over the world.

The Chalani (sieve), kula (winnowing pan), Khorahi (small baskets), the Japi (hat) with colorful design and motif made out of Bamboo strips enjoy enormous domestic demands. Cachar is famous for Sitalpati (mats) made out of Patidai or mohtra reeds.

Brass and Bell metal products are famous for their beauty, strength and utility. In Hajo of Kamrup district Brass is an important cottage industry. Sarthebari in the same district is famous for bell metal crafts. The artisans prepare Kalah (water pot), Sarai, Kahi (dish) Bati (bowl), Lota and Tal (cymbals) out of this material.

Assam also has a body of artists specializing in pottery. Their products are exquisite examples of immaculate craftsmanship. Household articles, toys, dolls and images of worship are the favorites of the pottery artists in Assam.

Wood is in abundance in Assam, which has largely enriched the woodcraft in the State. Exquisite woodcarvings are seen in the doors, walls, beams, and ceilings and also in the temples. The decorative panels in the royal palace of Ahoms and in the Vaishnavite monasteries testify to the skillful artistic hands of the Khanikars. The painted wood work of Golaghat signifies the folk art of the state.

Kuhila Koth or fiber weaving is a famed handicraft of Batadrava area of Nagaon district. Kuhila is woven on a simple loom-like gadget made of wood and bamboo poles to produce seats, mats and cushions. This is also an important craft in Gauripur of Dhubri district.

Pith or Indian cork had been in use for toy making for centuries in Assam.

Handicrafts Trade
Suggested Reading