Bamboo craft makes a vital part of the northeast Indian economy. The vigorous bamboo craft tradition of NE gets the most creative expression through the craftsmanship of the various Northeastern tribes. The spectacular variety and diverse range of Northeastern bamboo crafts clearly exhibit the skill of the artisans in working with canes and bamboos. The dexterous hands of the northeast India artisans can transform a dull, drab piece of bamboo or cane into a real artistic masterpiece. Intricate structures and myriad types of cuts & profiles made from myriad types of chisels are richly illustrated through the various types of bamboo crafts that these artisans make.
The items they make often include things like trays, unique furniture, bamboo/cane mats, decorative lamp shades, stools, hand fans, baskets, hand bags, jewelries etc. The richness of tradition and excellence of artisanship is well reflected through the bamboo crafts of Northeast India and these aspects definitely enrich the overall Indian craft traditions most fabulously!
Bamboo and cane craft of Assam is specifically a household craft industry in the state and offers farmers with a part-time employment option. Various products such as bamboo houses, bamboo baskets, bamboo mats, bamboo hats, handicrafts like toys and dolls, musical instruments etc are crafted here out of the bamboo or cane. The bamboo houses are a combination of bamboo matting and wooden framework.
Bamboo baskets of Assam come in various shapes and sizes and serve various distinct purposes. Also, the baskets differ from one tribe to another in their shape and style. For instance, if the basket has a conical shape it is specifically a carrying basket. If the basket has a square shape it is specifically a storage basket. The bamboo hat or jhapi is one of the most popular and ancient bamboo products of Assam. Colorful motifs and designs adorn these jhapis. Many household items too such as chalani, kula, dukula, khoralu, dhol and doon are also crafted out of bamboo in Assam.
The bamboo craft of Arunachal Pradesh is highly diverse with the designs, styles and patterns varying from one tribe to another. The craft is practiced mainly by the men folk who use their skills to transform simple utility items into visually appealing artistic masterpieces. Houses, bridges, smoking pipes, trays, knives, baskets, ornaments, barrels, storage pouches are some of the most important products crafted by the bamboo craft artisans of Arunachal Pradesh. Each basket weaved here is distinct in style and nomenclature. For instance, barsi is an open-weaved basket; rothak and pathu are rectangle shaped long bamboo pouches made in Arunachal Pradesh
Bamboo/cane trees abound in Meghalaya and the trees grow super fast and are available in multiple varieties. Khoks/artistic baskets, bamboo houses, mats, stools, Kurup or special type of Khasi umbrella are some of the major bamboo/cane products produced in Meghalaya. Meghalayan bamboo crafts is a crucial part of the daily lifestyle of Meghalaya
Mizoram has an abundant supply of the raw materials for bamboo crafts. Bamboo baskets are an important product that the artisans of Mizoram commonly craft out of Bamboo. These baskets come in various sizes, shapes and serve various purposes. Broad baskets, for instance, are used for storing vegetables, cotton, and firewood. Baskets with lid are used for storing grains. The various other products made from bamboo/cane in Mizoram include pipes, toys, hats, umbrella handle, fish baskets, mugs, weaving tools and even houses
Bamboo/cane craft is a traditional Manipuri craft and is intricately inter-twined with the Manipuri lifestyle. The products produced by the artisans here are not only aesthetic in look but are also highly functional in nature. Among the northeastern states Manipur ranks second in terms of the production of various bamboo crafts the first being Tripura. Some of the major bamboo products produced here include bamboo houses, fencing, baskets, furniture, trays, mats, flower vases, fishing traps etc. The bamboo craft of Manipur in fact may be classified as decorative bamboo craft, utility bamboo craft and commercial bamboo craft.
The bamboo/cane crafts of Tripura show remarkably extensive weaving patterns, unique styles and attractive designs. Simple tools are used to split the bamboo and cane vertically and impart their surface with a striking evenness. The artisans of Tripura craft various attractive items out of bamboo and cane and it includes things like Dulla or fish basket, Pathee or rain shield, kula, dala, trays, pencil holders, lamp shades, table mats, decorative fans, door screens, stools, vegetable baskets, shopping bags and many more
The state of Nagaland produces a huge amount of bamboo and cane and artisans therein make good use of these available resources to craft out amazing artifacts. It is often remarked in a hyperbolic manner that life in Nagaland begins on a bamboo cot and ends in the bamboo coffin. Bamboo crafting makes an integral part of Naga culture and their forte lies in making beautiful furniture pieces out of bamboo. So, these artisans would make awesome tables, chairs, sofas and cots out of bamboo/cane. Cane baskets too are very common in Nagaland and every woman takes pride in flaunting one as accessory
Bamboo/cane crafts are a flourishing craft in Sikkim and every lane of Sikkim has workshops of bamboo/cane crafts where marvelous bamboo/cane crafts are produced by the artisans. Bamboo showpieces, mats, baskets, furniture are some of the commonest products made by the artisans of Sikkim