There are approximately 437 tribes in India, out of which nearly 62 hail from the state of Orissa. The state practically reigns, as far as the production of tribal handicrafts is concerned. The tribal potters make objects like pots, bowls, plates, jars and cooking stoves to meet requirements of daily life as well as for rituals. Orissa craftsmen are highly skilled at making traditional art and crafts made out of bamboo and cane.
The structural characteristics of the bamboo, like its high tensile
strength, are employed for architectural purposes. Bamboo splits are
woven to make baskets. There are ample crafts that can be made out of
bamboo like ropes, strings, brooms and the like. These products are
largely manufactured by the artisans for local consumption. Tribal
craftsmen of Orissa make a variety of papier-mâché products
also. The technique basically requires the use of paper, waste cloth and
other natural fibers that are soaked and beaten into a pulp.
Gum is added to the mixture for strength. Later on, these are put into
moulds of different shapes and sizes, to prepare handicrafts like masks,
animal toys, penholders, dolls, etc. The final stage of making papier-mâché
products is painting and decoration. Another art in which the tribals of
Orissa state excel is the making of natural dyes. It is said that the
knowledge of making vegetable dyes dates back to the primitive times.
Cotton yarn, dyed in madder, is still used by the weavers of Kotpad at
Koraput district of Orissa.