Saturday, November 12, 2011

Apatani Handicrafts

It is becoming harder and harder to find good quality Apatani handicrafts these days. Old pieces have been destroyed or allowed to decay without any care. Only a handful of people, who are able and willing to find time to create those handicrafts, are alive today.

While the native people are still to understand the values and significance of this art, there is hope that appreciation for the handicraft skills of the Apatanis will live on. This hope springs from seemingly insignificant facts like finding of an Apatani bamboo glass (Tanii turla) in the corner of a Harrisonburg home

If an American can carry a turla all the way home across the ocean, will an antique collector in the crowded Thamel in Kathmandu remain behind? 

An Apatani rucksak (lera) was nicely displayed in one of the antique shops in Kathmandu. Curiously, I asked the price. It was 8000 Nepali rupees, amounting to 5000 Indian rupees! Good price, as a lera is among the best rucksacks one can find.

A couple of Apatani caps - byopas, too adorned the walls of the antique shop. These byopas are equally useful both in sun and rain. They double up as helmets as well.
One only hope these useful handicrafts are not yet relegated as antiques!

1 comment:

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