Longpi Pottery: A beautiful craft
The Longpi Pottery belongs to Manipur and is a unique and an exquisite piece of art. The word Longpi originates from the Longpi village in Manipur where this amazing art work is done by the Tangkhul Naga tribe.
The Tangkhul Naga tribe believes that Goddess Panthobi is the mother of artifact making, which also includes pottery making. Hence, the Longpi Pottery is used in performing important customs during every festive occasion like marriages and childbirth. The Longpi Pottery is also known as royal pottery as it was considered that only the rich and the royal clan of Manipur could purchase it. The Longpi pots are functional and are used for cooking and storing food.
The pottery is made using the coiled method of making pots. The traditional potter’s wheel is not used for making the pottery which is interesting. They are made with a mixture of clay and powdered stone. The mixture is rolled out as coils and is then, moulded into a cylinder. The cylinder is put on a circular board which is placed on a stool. The potter then has to move around the clay himself giving it shape and thus, forming the pot. The pot is held by a round stone from inside and is then beaten into a desired shape and thickness. The pot is generally finished by rubbing its surface with a reddish brown seed from a wild creeper and then, with a bee wax. They are mostly black in colour due to process used to make it and the smoke stains while firing.
Even though the Longpi Pottery is a beautiful artwork, it is lying in the state of neglect. A lot of rural artisans from these areas are fighting for the survival of this craft work. Government and NGOs have been trying hard to revive this art form, but there still is a need for people to appreciate this exquisite art work and its creative craftsmanship, and promote it.