Assam Culture

Assam is a multiethnic society with diversified culture. Forty five different languages are spoken by different communities in Assam. Assamese culture is a rich conglomerate of ethnic practices and assimilated beliefs. Its rich folk music has its influence on artists like Bhupen Hazarika, Rudra Baruah, Parbati Prasad Baruah, Jayanta Hazarika, Khagen Mahanta and many others. Listed below are some cultural highlights.

  • Gamosa - meaning 'something to wipe the body’ is a white rectangular piece of cloth with red border which is of great significance for the people of Assam and is used for various occasions with high respect.

  • Cane and Bamboo - have remained inseparable parts of life in Assam. The Jappi, the traditional sunshade continues to be the most prestigious of bamboo items of the state.

  • Metal Crafts - Bell-metal and brass have been the most commonly used metals for the Assamese artisan. The Xorai and bota have in use for centuries, to offer betel-nut and paan to welcome distinguished guests. Gold, silver and copper too form a part of traditional metal craft in Assam.

  • Handlooms - Assam is the home for several types of silks, the most prominent and prestigious being muga, the golden silk exclusive only to this state. The women of Assam weave fairy tales in their looms. One of the world's finest artistic traditions finds expression in their exquisitely woven 'Eri', 'Muga' and 'Pat' fabrics.

  • Toys - There are four categories: clay toys, pith, wooden and bamboo toys, and cloth-mud toys.

  • Woodcraft - The various articles in a satra and naam-ghar(place of worship) are stiff cut on wood, depicting the guru asana (pedestal of the lords), apart from various kinds of birds and animals figuring in mythology. Modern-day Khanikar produce articles of commercial values, including figures of one-horned rhino and replicas of the world-famous Kamakhya temple - two items heading the list of demands of a visitor from outside.

  • Masks - Traditional masks have been widely used in folk theatres and bhaonas, made with the materials ranging from terracotta to pith to metal, bamboo and wood. Even in tribals too, varied colourful masks are used. The modern-day drawing rooms use masks as decorative items and wall-hangings.

  • Jewellery - Assamese traditional jewellery include the doog-doogi, loka-paro, bana, gaam-kharu, gal-pata, jon-biri, dhol-biri and keru. Jorhat of Assam is popular in manufacturing exquisite Assamese jewellary.

  • Pottery - The Kumars and Hiras are two traditional potter communities of Assam. While the Kumars use the wheel to produce their pots, the Hiras are probably the only potters in the world who do not use the wheel at all. Also, among the Hiras, only the womenfolk are engaged in pottery work, while their men help them in procuring the raw materials and selling the wares. The most commonly-used pottery products include earthern pots and pitchers, plates, incense-stick holders, and earthen lamps.



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