Assam is a multiethnic
society with diversified culture. Forty five different languages are
spoken by different communities in Assam. Assamese culture is a rich
conglomerate of ethnic practices and assimilated beliefs. Its rich
folk music has its influence on artists like Bhupen Hazarika, Rudra
Baruah, Parbati Prasad Baruah, Jayanta Hazarika, Khagen Mahanta and
many others. Listed below are some cultural highlights.
meaning 'something to wipe the body’ is a white rectangular
piece of cloth with red border which is of great significance
for the people of Assam and is used for various occasions with
Cane and Bamboo
- have remained inseparable parts of life in Assam. The Jappi,
the traditional sunshade continues to be the most prestigious of
bamboo items of the state.
- Bell-metal and brass have been the most commonly used metals
for the Assamese artisan. The Xorai and bota have in use for
centuries, to offer betel-nut and paan to welcome distinguished
guests. Gold, silver and copper too form a part of traditional
metal craft in Assam.
Assam is the home for several types of silks, the most prominent
and prestigious being muga, the golden silk exclusive only to
this state. The women of Assam weave fairy tales in their looms.
One of the world's finest artistic traditions finds expression
in their exquisitely woven 'Eri', 'Muga' and 'Pat' fabrics.
There are four categories: clay toys, pith, wooden and bamboo
toys, and cloth-mud toys.
The various articles in a satra and naam-ghar(place of worship)
are stiff cut on wood, depicting the guru asana (pedestal of the
lords), apart from various kinds of birds and animals figuring
in mythology. Modern-day Khanikar produce articles of commercial
values, including figures of one-horned rhino and replicas of
the world-famous Kamakhya temple - two items heading the list of
demands of a visitor from outside.
Traditional masks have been widely used in folk theatres and
bhaonas, made with the materials ranging from terracotta to pith
to metal, bamboo and wood. Even in tribals too, varied colourful
masks are used. The modern-day drawing rooms use masks as
decorative items and wall-hangings.
Assamese traditional jewellery include the doog-doogi, loka-paro,
bana, gaam-kharu, gal-pata, jon-biri, dhol-biri and keru. Jorhat
of Assam is popular in manufacturing exquisite Assamese
The Kumars and Hiras are two traditional potter communities of
Assam. While the Kumars use the wheel to produce their pots, the
Hiras are probably the only potters in the world who do not use
the wheel at all. Also, among the Hiras, only the womenfolk are
engaged in pottery work, while their men help them in procuring
the raw materials and selling the wares. The most commonly-used
pottery products include earthern pots and pitchers, plates,
incense-stick holders, and earthen lamps.