Arunachal Pradesh is a land of beautiful handicrafts comprising a wide variety. Artistic craftmanship has been passed on from one generation to the other and sense of aesthetics has been manifested through a variety of crafts such as:-
basket making etc.
From the viewpoint of the art and culture the state may be very conveniently divided into three zones:-
» the Buddhist tribe
The people of the first zone make beautiful masks. They periodically stage pantomimes and masked dances. They also make exquisite painted wooden vessels and silver articles. Carpet making is a speciality of the Monpas, the Buddhist community. Carpets with exotic designs of dragons, geometric and floral patterns are made here. Carpet weaving has today become a major occupation of the womenfolk and with an increase in demand, production of the carpets is now being undertaken on a large scale.
» the central part (from east Kameng in the west to Lohit in the east)
Those of the second zone are expert workers in cane and bamboo. The cane and bamboo industry of the state has made a name for itself. As a matter of fact most of the domestic requirements are made of these materials. hats, baskets, canes vessels, cane belts - woven and plain, bamboo mugs and carvings, a wide variety of ornaments and jewellery items are all crafted by workmen. The shawls and jackets, shoulder bags and coats all stand for the perfection that the people have attained in this art.
» the eastern part of the territory
The people of the third zone are famous for their wooden carvings. The Monpa wood carver scoopes out beautiful cups, dishes and fruit bowls and magnificent ceremonial masks for dances and pantomimes. Another tribe that is framed for this art is the Khamptis who carve out beautiful religion images, figures of dancers, toys and other objects. They weave beautiful bags and loin cloths too. Goat's hair, ivory, boar's tus, beads of agate and the stones as well as of brass and glass are specialities of the people of this zone.
Weaving is the occupation of the womenfolk throughout the territory. They have an excellent sense of colour. The basic colours that dominates the weaves are black, yellow dark blue, green and scarlet - all put together in the most fascinating combinations. Originally natural dyes were used which today have given away to synthetic dyes.
The designs are essentially geometric varying from a formal arrangement to lines and bands. Items that could make excellent buys are Sherdukpen shawls, Apatani jackets and scarve, Adi skirts, jackets and bags, Mishmi shawls, blouses and jackets; and Wancho bags.
Crafting ornaments is another art widely practised by the Arunachalis. Besides multicoloured beads, feathers of birds and wings of the green beetles are also used as embellishments. The Akas make bamboo bangles and earings which are occassionally decorated with pokerwork designs. Paper making, smithy work, carpentry, pottery and ivory work aare the other crafts practised by the Arunachalis. The Monpas make paper locally, from pulp of trees called Sukso or the other paper tress. This hand made paper is used for writing religious prayers on them. Hunting, fishing also form the subsidiary occupations. With a view to help developing arts and crafts and to substantiate the livelihood of the people, local boys and girls are imparted training in specially set up crafts centres. The rich heritage of art and crafts of Arunachal Pradesh is sure to add colour to the cultural heritage of the country.