It is a known fact that the tradition of a place finds expression in the local arts and crafts. One look at the various handicrafts and handloom products made in the north eastern state of Assam and you find the truth in this statement. History tells us that the artists and artisans of Assam were known far and wide, for their exquisite craftsmanship. In addition to the world-famous famous silk products, bamboo and cane products have also occupied an important place in handicraft industry of the state. Then, there are the traditional masks, metal handicrafts, paintings, and so on. There is a sense of simplicity and style in the skills of the Assamese craftsman and this is what makes their products so unique and charming.
Assam is a confluence of a number of tribes and cultures and this is reflected in the traditional handicrafts of the place as well. However, in the recent times, due to the effects of globalization, changes have been seen in the patterns and designs of the Assamese arts and crafts also. There have been variations in the weaving skills, but despite this, the technology of production has not changed much. The conventional modes of manufacturing are still very much in use. In order to improve the standards of the handicraft industry of Assam, the government has established the Assam Art and Craft society (1971) in Guwahati. Through it, regular research and conferences are conducted, to further the efforts of the craftsmen.
Cane & Bamboo Crafts
Bamboo and cane contribute a lot to the economy and lifestyle of the north-eastern state of Assam. This is mainly because of the fact that the hills and forests of the region have vast expanses of bamboos and canes and the natives, being excellent craftsmen that they are, have learnt to use them for a wide range of purpose in their everyday life.
Handloom comprises of one of the oldest industries in the northeastern state of Assam. It is known far and wide for its rich textures and designs. So much importance is attached with the industry that it is customary for every young Assamese girl to acquire the skill to weave, in order to qualify for marriage.
Assam has a rich collection of traditional jewelry, which is unique and exclusive to the state. These jewelries hold a special place in the heart of the Assamese women and are worn during the cultural and religious events. Jorhat, the second biggest city of Assam, is the main jewelry making centre of the state.
Masks, also known as mukhas, are said to be the base of the Assamese culture and tradition. They are worn mostly during theatres and bhaonas, which revolve around the Assamese tribal myths and folktales. Since ages, these masks have been the centre of each and every cultural event in the state.
Metal craft comprises of one of the oldest cottage industries of Assam. These products are famous all over India and can be found in almost every Assamese household. Famed for their unique artistic skills, the local artists and craftsmen of the state are mainly involved in designing brass and bell metal utensils.
The traditional paintings of Assam serve as a source of inspiration to thousands of art lovers across the globe. Known for their unmatched quality and outstanding strokes of mastery, they have become an integral part of the rich Assamese culture and heritage. Tracing their origin to seventh century AD, Assamese paintings
Toys speak a lot about the culture and tradition of a place. They depict the lifestyle and the way of living of the people residing there. So much can be known about the heritage and customs of a given place through toys that mentioning them becomes inevitable when one speaks about the art and craft of a particular region.
A reference to the traditional art and craft of Assam, without mentioning the exquisite woodwork found there, would be as good as incomplete. So vast is the woodcraft industry in Assam that a separate group of people called khonikors is there to carry out this delicate task. The success of this industry depends mainly on the raw material, timber, which is found in abundance in the state.