Royal, traditional and natural are just few of the many characteristics associated with Longpi black pottery, from villages in the district of Ukhrul, Manipur. Ukhrul is also home to the Siroi Lily, an exotic lily species exclusive to this region.
In the far eastern land of the Indian sub-continent rests a small and quiet village, which goes by the name of Nungbi Khullen in the Ukhrul district of Manipur. The distance between Imphal, capital of Manipur and Ukhrul town is 85 kms and a tedious 3 hours journey by local buses. With a distance of about 35 kms, only a small mud road connects Ukhrul town to Nungbi Khullen. The only means of public transport through this hilly terrain between Ukhrul and Nungbi Khullen is a ‘Mahindra’ Jeep which runs only once daily and takes about 2 hours. Due to lack of proper roads and very scarce availability of modes of transportation, commuting from one place to another becomes a daily struggle for the villagers of Nungbi Khullen.
There are about 250 houses and around 1,500 people dwell in this village, an average household income being a meager Rs 10,000 a month. The tradition of making black pottery has been preserved by every family from immemorial times, however there are only a handful of skilled craftsmen left today. Homi, Somi, Tuishem, Ishak and Worshang, to name a few, create beautiful pieces of artifacts with relentless dedication and detail. The rest of the villagers engage in related secondary tasks like carrying raw materials and pounding of the rock. Nungbi Kachui is a nearby village that has more than 50 pottery makers who only specialize in making only cooking pots.
A very significant part of making black pottery is to assemble and prepare the rocks that make up the raw material for the product. These serpentine rocks are collected from the mountainous regions and carried downhill on foot for about 5-6 kms. They are then pounded and broken in a wooden & bamboo pounding vessel known as “Sumban”. What is amazing and inspiring is that the transporting and pounding of the rocks is mostly done by women folk of the village. To preserve from mass commercialization the trek is reserved and prohibits any kind of commercial vehicle.
Because of challenging and harsh weather conditions in these mountainous regions there is very limited agriculture, whether for personal consumption or commercial purpose. Therefore, alternative means of living are extremely limited and the people travel to surrounding villages to earn daily wages.
Gorgeous as they are, this black pottery goes beyond tradition and culture. Painstakingly handcrafted, it adds an ethnic beauty to your home. Whether you’re hosting a party or serving dinner, do it in royalty with Longpi black pottery. Preserve this unique art. Buy them now @www.giskaa.com.