Under the 52nd series of its online exhibition by Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, today presented the Kumar Pottery of Salmora Village, Majuli, Assam situated in the Kumhar Para. Open Air Exhibition of Manav Sangrahalaya has been presented online with its basic information and photographs and videos.
About this exhibition, Praveen Kumar Mishra, Director, IGRMS said that – Majuli is an island in the mighty Brahmaputra river in Assam. Salmora village lies on the southeastern bank of the Majuli Island, and it is largely inhabited by the Kumar community, who are efficient potters and boat makers. It is said that the Kumars had their early settlement in Sadiya on the bank of River Brahmaputra in Upper Assam, and they migrated to this island in the quest for suitable clay for pottery in different phases during the period from the 13th to 16th Century A.D. Pottery in this village is traditionally handmade and practiced mainly by women.
They produce different varieties of utilitarian pots, ceremonial and decorative items, and supply to fulfill the people's demands in the island and other villages and towns. The inland water transport plying from the village to the nearby town carrying a large scale of pottery is a pleasing sight to the spectators.
At the onset of the monsoon, pits are prepared on the river bank to assemble clay during the floods. In the rainy season, the site gets filled with spanking new alluvium deposits on the river bank. Suitable clay is dug out and collected from 30-40 feet deep inside the pits and heaped on the river banks. The clay is then transported back to the yard of their homes. It is stored in a pit by mixing with water and covered with sand to reserve for their annual use. Pottery work begins after the monsoon is over.
The potters use traditional tools and devices for making pots., Kath- A wooden plank used mixing the clay with tempering sand and preparing lumps, Ethali- an earthen bowl for water-dipped with the cloth used at the time of shaping the rim, Afari- A shallow and wide earthen bowl with blunted bottom end used as a rotor to shape the pot, Pitan- A wooden or earthen club or a beater, Balia- A stone or mud anvil.