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The Art of The North- East Frontiers of India

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Item Code: HAI872
Author: Verrier
Publisher: Shubhi Publications, Gurgaon
Language: English
Edition: 2023
ISBN: 9789394797338
Pages: 227 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
Other Details 8.50 X 6.00 inch
Weight 420 gm
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Fully insured
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Shipped to 153 countries
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More than 1M+ customers worldwide
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100% Made in India
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23 years in business
Book Description

Jawaharlal Nehru has frequently stressed the importance of encouraging the art of the hill people of India. I am anxious, he has said that they should advance, but I am even more anxious that they should not lose their artistry and joy in life and the culture that distinguishes them in many ways." And he has pointed out that all over the world the impact of modern, westernized, civilization has destroyed the creative impulse in pre-literate populations and has given little in its place. I have written this book because I believe that this destructive influence can be checked. I will go further: I believe that by encouraging the arts of the tribal people, creating in them a pride in their own products, keeping before them their own finest patterns and designs, and by providing them with raw materials, it will be possible to inspire a renaissance of creative activity throughout the hill areas of India, especially in Assam where there is so much on which to build. There is, of course, the danger that we who wish to help may do as much damage as the enemy we fight. We must approach even the simplest beginnings of art with humility, content to inspire and guide. to create cultural self- respect, to strengthen the ability to choose the best. Education in good taste. The most neglected of subjects in our schools and colleges, is vitally important for the people of both hills and plains. The purpose of art. said Holman Hunt, is in love of guileless beauty to lead men to distinguish between that which, being clean in spirit, is productive of virtue, and that which is flaunting and meretricious and productive of ruin to a nation." This book describes and illustrates certain aspects of the art of the north- east frontier of India. I have concentrated mainly on fabrics, wood-carving. And cane-work in so far as it affects dress and personal adornment. Pottery here is little developed and ironmongery is strictly utilitarian. I have touched only incidentally on the art of tattooing which would require a monograph to itself, and limitations of space have prevented me from illustrating the extensive work in basketry, mat-making and other products of cane and bamboo found in this area. Even on weaving I have had to leave out as much as I have put in.


On Tuesday, June the 15th 1784, Dr Samuel Johnson was shown the three recently published volumes of Captain Cook's account of his voyages to the South Seas. The great man did not approve who he demanded, 'will read them through? A man had better work his way before the mast than read them through they will be eaten by rats and mice before they are read through. There can be little entertainment in such books: one set of savages is like another to this Boswell protested. I do not think the people of Otaheite can be reckoned savages Jousso: Don't cant in defence of savage.

Boswell: They have the art of navigation Joussu: "A dog or a cat can swim

Boswell: They carve very ingeniously

Jonsson: A cat can scratch, and a child with a nail can scratch." The word 'savage has passed and with it the attitude of mind it expressed, yet although the primitive art of Africa. America and the South Seas is today admired and even fashionable. The tribal art of India has not hitherto attracted much attention, and some of that attention has been critical or even Johnsonian in its scorn. Thus Dunbar, in an otherwise appreciative paper on the Abors and Gallongs, speaks of the utter lack of an artistic sense in the tribes on this frontier: they could not even decorate their quivers and wabbands. He says again that the Adis ideas of art are limited to elementary patterns on the loom and to the rough conventional designs of the smith in his clay and wax castings, which were generally imitations of imports from Tibet Similarly Dalton says of the Subansiri tribes that there are no people on the face of the earth more ignorant of arts and manufactures."

The early explorers of the frontier vied with one another in their use of un complimentary adjectives, and even today the common use of the expression backward tribes who are to be uplifted hardly suggests an attitude of respect.

Yet an attitude of neglect or scorn is as mistaken as one which casts a romantic glamour over all things tribal. For, as Raymond Firth save one aim of a clear aesthetic judgement is to recognize the worth of traditions of art different from our own. to perceive in an apparent distortion of reality the expression of a valid and interesting idea, of a formal and forceful design."

There is much beauty to be found in Indian tribal art, particularly in the art of the North-East Frontier, but to appreciate it requires sympathy. Imagination and the ability to relate it to its human background. It is also necessary to understand the difficulties against which the artist has to struggle lack of materials, the general psychological demoralization into which many of the people have fallen as a result of contact with the outside world, and the absence of official or private patronage and encouragement in the past.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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