Art ,Handicrafts  and Paintings  Forms of Assam

Art ,Handicrafts  and Paintings  Forms of Assam

The Arts and Crafts of Assam are world famous for unique traditional methods of production and for tribal art forms. The people of Assam have traditionally been craftsmen. Assam is mostly known for its exquisite silks and the bamboo and cane products, several other crafts are also made here. The attractive arts and crafts are a part of natural beauty of Assam. Every such handicraft has been created with the effort of specific tribal groups and this is the fact that Assam’s culture is largely shaped by the tribes living in the state.

Bamboo and cane

Bamboo and cane contribute a lot to the economy and lifestyle 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 life. They happen to be the two most commonly-used items in daily life, ranging from household implements to construction of dwelling houses to weaving accessories to musical instruments. Cane and bamboo furniture’s on the other hand have been very popular in the domestic as well as the export market, while paati, the traditional mat has found its way into the world of interior decoration. The main items are the cane baskets, music instruments and the weaving accessories. The most famous product colorful Assamese Japi (headgear) is additional sunshade, terracotta of Gauripur and various decorative items bear witness to the craftsmanship of this land.


Assam has a rich collection of traditional jewelry, which is unique and attractive. Particularly of gold jewelry is a tradition in Assam. Gold jewelry 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. In fact, a particular tribe of people, the Sonowal Kacharis were engaged only for gold-washing in these rivers. Jorhat, in Upper Assam is the second biggest city of Assam, is the main jewelry making centre of the state. Assamese jewellery includes the doog-doogi, loka-paro, bana, gaam-kharu, gal-pata, jon-biri, dhol-biri and keru, all of which have also encouraged the modern jewellers to producing similiar designs mechanically.


Assam is a state, which excel in woodcraft and carpentry. The woodwork is an ancient Assamese craft. Assam has always 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 economy. An Assamese can identify the timber by touching it even in darkness, and can produce a series of items from it. This has greatly facilitated the growth of Assamese woodcraft industry. While decorative panels in the royal Ahom palaces of the past and the 600-years old satras or Vaishnative monasteries are intricately carved on wood, a special class of people who excelled in wood carving came to be known as Khanikar. The Art ,Handicrafts  and Paintings  Forms of Assampainted woodwork of Golaghat is a folk art in Assam. In Assam, wood is used to make a wide range of products. A number of items for daily domestic use are carved out of wood. This includes doors, stools, chairs, tables, dolah or palki, walking stick, and kharams (wooden sandals), which might be engraved with the images of animals, birds and fishes.


Handloom of Assam is famous for its several types of silks, the


most prominent and prestigious being muga, the golden silk exclusive only to this state. Handloom weaving is a way of life in Assam. 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. The designs used in Assam are mostly stylised symbols of animals, human figures, creepers, flowers, birds, channels, cross borders and the galaxy, Assamese weavers produce beautiful designs on the borders of traditional garments such as the mekhela-chaddar and riha and on the gamosa (towel) Or the tribals make beautiful shawls also. The Laichangphi, produced traditionally by the weavers of Cachar district, is a popular quilt sought after because of its warmth and softness. Each ethnic group of the State has its own distinctive design and style. Sualkuchi is the biggest centre of silk production produced only in Assam and also has the largest number of weavers is a way in this state.

Metal crafts

Metal craftsMetal craft of Assam are also popular for their beauty and strength of form and utility. It also 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. Brass and Bell Metal products of Assam are also apart from these two metals, gold, silver and copper can also be used to make different handicrafts in Assam. Gold, silver and copper too have formed part of traditional metal craft in Assam, and the State Museum in Guwahati has a rich collection of items made of these metals. Brass and bell metal crafts are mainly produced in Hajo and Sarthebari in Kamrup districts of Assam. The main products created here are Kalah (water pot), Sarai, Kahi (dish) Bati (bowl) lota and tal (cymbals). A sarai is a shallow bowl on a stand with a dome-like cover and it is used in Assamese rituals. The Kalah is a designed pitcher which has attractive motifs engraved on them.


Masks form an integral part of the Assamese culture and tradition, adding to the color and vibrancy of the state. A mask is also known as mukhas. 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. Being used by the tribes of Assam during bhaonas and theatres, these masks of Assam are mainly made up of wood and bamboo. From the tribal arena, the masks are seen today in almost every home of Assam as a decorative showpiece.


Assam Pottery is a unique representation of the oldest craftsmanship of the state. Pottery is the ceramic ware made by potters. Major types of pottery include earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain. The places where such wares are made are called potteries. Pottery is one of the oldest human technologies and art-forms, and remains a major industry of Assam. This industry produces many household utensils. Pottery includes several daily-use as well as fancy wares that are made up of mud and clay. The Kumars and Hiras are two traditional potter communities of Assam and while the Kumars use the wheel to produce his pots. Mud pots or pitchers, earthen holders of incense sticks, plates, clay glasses and many other daily-use articles were the early symbols of the flourishing pottery of Assam. Ceramic art covers the art of pottery, whether in items made for use or purely for decoration.


Assamese paintings are known all over the world for their unique style and versatile nature. The traditional paintings of Assam are based primarily on the folklores, myths and religious customs that were once an integral part of the Assamese people. Ahom palaces and satras and naam-ghar etc still abound in brightly-coloured paintings depicting various stories and events from history and mythology. Most famous Hastividyarnava (A treatise on Elephants), chitra bhagavata and gita Gobinda painting are excellent. These are also prominent mythology on the basis of which several traditional forms of paintings were created by the veteran painters of Assam. So, the traditional paintings have become a central point of attraction in the artistic contours of Assam.

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