Accepted paper:

Earthenware vessels and social information of the Nagas

Author:

Ditamulu Vasa (Nagaland University)

Paper short abstract:

The Naga indigenous pottery production styles and the various symbolic representations are studied to understand the social boundaries and interaction, its use as a medium for projecting social identity and its role as a means of symbolizing the presence of and distinctions between ethnic groups.

Paper long abstract:

The state of Nagaland located on the eastern side of Northeast India lies between 93º21′ to 95º15′ E longitude and 25º6′ to 27º4′ N latitude bordering Myanmar in the East, Manipur in the south, Assam in the north and west and Arunachal Pradesh in the north. An important goal of ceramic ethnoarchaeology in the region has been to study the rapidly disappearing traditional potters who still practice their indigenous craft and provides ample scope for understanding past socio-cultural systems. The production of earthenware vessels in Nagaland is a long established craft tradition mainly for household use and as such provides an ideal setting to study the different mode of production and principles that can derive stylistic behavior and symbolism attached to it. The practice of this art still continues to be pursued by some specific groups in Nagaland and the retention of earlier traits and tradition in forms and decoration can be detected. The importance of pottery tradition is indicated by the wide variety of designs associated to rituals as well as everyday usages. The concept of this paper focuses on the production technology and the decorative style so as to render inferences about the prehistoric social life. The pottery styles and the various symbolic representations are studied to understand social boundaries and interaction existing within themselves, its use as a medium for projecting social identity and its role as a means of symbolizing the presence of and distinctions between ethnic groups.

panel P10
On the prehistoric cultural relations of Southeast Asia with Northeast India