Manipur’s Longpi Pottery exhibited at Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS) in Bhopal

Longpi Pottery of Manipur has been displayed on the various social media platforms of the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS), museum in Bhopal, as part of its online exhibition series.

A unique pottery tradition of the Tangkhul Naga tribe of Manipur, was exhibited in the museum’s Kumharpara open-air exhibition.

A wide range of black ware pottery ranging from simple household utensils to large vessels, including innovatively crafted decorative and art items, were displayed.

The Tangkhul Naga potters prepared these exhibits during workshops organised by the museum on its premises.

The Tangkhul Naga Pottery, also known as the Longpi Pottery, is named after the Longpi village, located in the Ukhrul district of Manipur. The village is famous for producing indigenous black ware pottery, which is inherited from their forefathers.

Longpi Potters used to exchange their earthenware with meat, rice, and baskets in the olden days. Traditionally, the art of pottery among the Tangkhul tribe was practised by the male only. The pottery craft used to be conducted with appropriate ritual conduct.

The making of pots by women was considered a social taboo. Pottery being the major source of economy, women have also gradually started making pottery in this village.

N Sakmacha, museum associate said that Longpi Potters use local clay called Salai Nali, mixed in a ratio of 2:3 with a serpentine rock called Lishon-loong as a tempering material for preparing pots.

Simple bamboo and wooden tools shape various earthenware designs, and they adopt a highly skilful method to fire the pots. One of the essential items that endorse the pride of their cultural identity is a vessel called Hampai.

This massive cooking vessel traditionally marks the symbol of festivity, merriment, and prosperity. It is also regarded as the most ancient and famous pot used for cooking meat, especially during festivals and social ceremonies. Hampai is characterised by the presence of decorative relief art on its outer surface. Most of the symbols used are the buffalo head, spears, traditional house, and flowers.

The exhibition presents eight Hampais that carry distinctive motifs. It also displays various earthen households and art materials crafted by the Longpi Potters of Manipur, an associate said.

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