Arts & Crafts of Assam
The people of Assam have traditionally been craftsmen from time immemorial. Though Assam is mostly known for its exquisite silks and the bamboo and cane products, several other crafts are also made here.
Cane and Bamboo
Among the work of this craftsmanship is the work of Japi(headgear) most popular. All of the items ranging from the ordinary household goods to the construction of houses are made out of this. Cane and furniture had found a way to the domestic market as well as the export market
Bell-metal and brass have been the most commonly used metals for the Assamese artisan. Traditional utensils and fancy artiicles designed by these artisans are found in every Assamese household. The Xorai and bota have in use for centuries, to offer betel-nut and paan while welcoming distinguished guests.
Assam is the home of several types of silks, the most prominent and prestigious being muga, the golden silk exclusive only to this state. Muga apart, there is paat, as also eri, the latter being used in manufacture of warm clothes for winter.Of a naturally rich golden colour, muga is the finest of India's wild silks. It is produced only in Assam.
The toys of Assam have been broadly classified clay toys, pith, wooden and bamboo toys, and cloth and cloth-and-mud toys. While the human figure, especially dolls, brides and grooms, is the most common theme of all kinds of toys, a variety of animals forms have also dominated the clay-toys scene of Assam.
The practice of making terracottas has been flourishing throughout the ages and this craftsmanship has been a result of learning by the younger generation from the older ones. Some of the common figures start from the figures of Gods to mythological characters.
Assam has always remained one of the most forest-covered states of the country, and the variety of wood and timber available here have formed a part of the people's culture and ecomony. An Assamese can identify the timber by touching it even in darkness, and can produce a series of items from it.
Gold has always constituted the most-used metal for jewellery in Assam, while the use of silver and other metals too have been there for centuries. Gold was locally available, flowing down several Himalayan rivers, of which Subansiri is the most important.
The two potter communities namely the Kumars and the Hiras are the surviving ones found in Assam. The Kumars use the wheel to produce their pots but the Hiras do not use the wheel and they are the only one in the world to make pots without a wheel. Some of the products are earthen pot and pitchers, plates, incense stick holders and earthen lamps.