Art forms of Nagaland

Art forms of Nagaland

The rich arts and crafts of Nagaland portray the artistic caliber and creative imagination of the local craftsmen of the north eastern state of India. Nagaland has several small scale cottage and medium scale industries that produce fine products of the traditional art of the state.

The art of weaving is primarily the domain of the female folk of Nagaland. The weaving industry is one of the important industries of Nagaland that has added to the financial strength of the north eastern state of India. The women of Nagaland design beautiful patterns on pieces of cloth to make them colorful and attractive. The excellent design patterns on the Angami Naga shawls bears relic to the unique artistic skills of the artists who have inherited the art from their forefathers. The men folk of Nagaland produce excellent pieces of wooden work. The artists carve exquisite designs on the wooden pieces. One of the traditional arts of Nagaland, the wood carving industry produces beautiful products that have an internationally acclaimed status.

The local indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland master in the art of making baskets which are decorative and functional as well. The baskets of different sizes and shapes are used for variety of purposes. The traditional ornaments of Nagaland reflect the rich cultural heritage of the place. The native population of Nagaland love to wear heavy jewelries on days of special festive occasions. The local citizens of Nagaland draw beautiful pictures of animals and birds on the walls of their houses to make them look attractive. Nagaland is famous for producing several beautiful items of bamboo and cane work.


The unique weaving of Nagaland reflects the rich artistic skills and creative imagination of the local craftsmen who have inherited the art from their forefathers. An integral part of the arts and crafts of Nagaland, the weaving industry has helped to strengthen the economic base of the state. The weaving industries of Nagaland predominantly employ female weavers. Weaving industry is one of the traditional industries of Nagaland. According to the social customs of the ancient times, the wife of a particular man who had gone for hunting was not allowed to weave. However, with the passage of times, such social customs related to weaving have been relaxed and women can freely engage in the industry to earn their livelihood.

The state government of Nagaland has taken several steps to improve the condition of the small scale and medium scale cottage industries. Equipped with all the modern machineries, the weaving industries of Nagaland in the modern era produce world class products that have an internationally acclaimed status. The government of Nagaland has established training institutes in the districts of Dimapur and Mokokchung that imparts professional courses on weaving. More and more citizens of Nagaland are encouraged to take up the traditional profession of weaving to help in the balanced development of agricultural productivity and industrial sectors of the state.

Wood Carvings  

The Nagaland wood carvings are known for their elegant designs and excellent quality. Nagaland earns huge revenues from the wood carving industry of the state. An integral part of arts and crafts of Nagaland, the beautifully designed wooden works portrays the rich artistic caliber and imaginative skills of the local craftsmen. The tribes of Wanchos, Phom and Konyaks are known for their splendid mastery over the traditional art of carving beautiful products from woods which they have inherited from their forefathers. The excellent pieces of wooden work have internationally acclaimed status. Most of the tourists who visit Nagaland make it a point to purchase the pieces of traditional art as relics of the unique cultural heritage and artistic creativity of the place. The wooden pieces of art work of Nagaland are primarily used for decorative purposes.


Cloth painting is a very popular form of painting of Nagaland. The natives belonging to the Lotha, Ao and Rengma tribal communities practice this highly skilled art of painting on clothes. The Ao art of painting is quite similar to that of the Rengmas even though the basic pattern is quite different. The famous warrior shawl of the Ao tribe is painted in white. Only a warrior who has headed a war or performed some feats of merit is allowed to wear this shawl.

On the white median band, figures of various animals like elephant, cock, mithun, tiger, cock and even Dao spear and human heads are painted with black color. The colors used in these painting are natural colors that are prepared by mixing the sap of a tree, with very strong beer and the ash of the leaves. Fine chiseled bamboo sticks are used in the form of brushes. Sometimes, instead of the ash of Tangko leaves the ash of bamboo leaves are used. This results in the formation of a gray fluid. The old men of the tribes who have perfected this art over the years work on the intricate paintings. They paint the motifs in free hand on the lines of thread. The Rengmas also use the same medium of painting.


The pottery of Nagaland is one of the celebrated crafts in Nagaland. The pottery at Nagaland is a craft that is restricted to the women. It would not be wrong to say that pottery in Nagaland is a part of the Naga household. The pottery of Nagaland is a unique form of craft. Unlike the other parts of India, pottery at Nagaland does not involve revolving the wheel. In Nagaland, pottery is made exclusively with the help of hands: revolving the wheel for making the vessels is completely non existent in Nagaland.

The pottery in Nagaland are simple. The earthenwares made in Nagaland have functional value. The Nagas pay more importance to utility rather than aesthetics. Therefore, the pottery of Nagaland do not intricate detailing and designs. The Tseminyu and Ungma villages of Nagaland are famous for their pottery. Besides, it is noteworthy that the turnover of the craft is not much, as it is done only by women. Menfolk in Nagaland are exempted from making earthenwares. The Arts and Crafts of Nagaland are a hallmark of the consummate skill, expertise, talent and creativity of the tribal craftsmen.


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