The present report is a study on the Material Culture of the Sub-groups of the Kondh tribe of Orissa. A study of all aspects of the material side of people's life is of great importance. It is of great interest from such points of view as forms and functions of artefacts, sources of invention, questions of diffusion and their relation to social organization, religion and ceremonial practices. The scientists find it very useful in anthropological inquiry of tribal and other communities. A deep knowledge about the material life of a community is an excellent way of gaining the confidence of people and establishing rapport with them for data collection and field investigations among them.
The artefacts, art objects and such other items of material culture are an integral part of other aspects of a culture. Taking all material items of a culture together make the material culture of a community. There may be considerable similarities in form and function of material items from place to place, in a particular community, be it a peasant community or a tribal community. There may also be differences in form and function of certain material items from place to place, in a particular community, and such local differentiations are largely due to cross-cultural contact and acculturation.
It is assumed that the material culture of a community may be the same in respect of the various items which comprise the material culture in different localities. But under the influence of geographical conditions and acculturation, there appears to be spectacular changes and discordances in form and function of the material items which constitute the material culture of a particular community. This book deals with the material culture of the Kondh tribe. The Kondhs are divided into three sub-groups, namely the Kutia Kondh - inhabiting the Belghar region of Phulbani district, the Dongaria Kondhs -occupying Niyamgiri hills of Koraput district, and the Malia Kondhs of Sadar sub-division of Phulbani district. There appear to be considerable similarities in socio-cultural, religious and aesthetics aspects and belief-system laws regarding social control and world-view of the sub-groups which accord to the traditional Kondh culture pattern. But as one goes down to the base representing the material culture we notice greater differences in the material level of life. Thus the structure of a society can be compared to a pyramid. There Preface is more differentiation at the material base of the social system and progressively less as one mounts higher and higher. The differences Map sib at the material aspects of culture are eventually replaced by a unity of beliefs and aspirations which gives to the community in question a General character of its own. In other words, the study of the material culture of a society reveals unity in diversity in its local system and culture pattern.
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