Traditional crafts of Arunachal Pradesh

Bamboo and Cane Craft

Owing to the abundance of cane and bamboo in Arunachal Pradesh, it is very famous for these products. Some of the articles made from cane and bamboo are smoking pipes, basket mats, cane belts, jewellery etc. The tribal population of the state also uses the bamboo products to make household utensils, furniture, dwelling units, bows, arrows, spears, dibbles, hunting and fishing traps etc. A majority of the households in the state are engaged in the making of bamboo and cane products.   


Weaving is the second most popular household industry in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. The Apatani tribals are the most advanced weavers of the state. Bark fibres, human hair, goat hair, cotton and wool are used for weaving purposes. The products made from weaving are lungis, skirts, handbags, embroidered cotton clothes, shawls and ceremonial coats.

Wood Carving

Considered as a traditional craft of Arunachal Pradesh, wood carving is mainly centred in the Wancho area of Tirap district. The products made from wood carvings are warriors, figure heads, miniature morungs, and figurines depicting rural life, animal figures, colourful masks and Lord Buddha’s images.   


The various tribes of Arunachal Pradesh specialises in the making of weapons and tools of their own. Items such as knives, arrow heads, Daos, iron bracelets etc. are manufactured. Other metals and bones are also used for manufacturing items such as smoking pipes, sacred bells, dishes and ornaments.


The primary textile patterns of the different tribes of Arunachal Pradesh are as follows:

  • Floral and Zemorphic patterns
  • Adi Pattern
  • Apatani Pattern
  • Mishmi Pattern
  • Zig-Zag Pattern

The colour contrasts and combinations are individualistic in nature and celebrate life in all its forms.

Jewellery Making

This includes crafting of various pieces of ornaments like bangles, bamboo ear ornaments embellished with poker patterns, beaded jewellery made from reed bamboo, wild seeds and glass beads in spectacular designs and colours, silver ornaments like earrings and silver filler necklaces with lockets.

Mask Making
Different types of masks are crafted according to their functions and are categorised into religious masks and folk art masks. Religious masks vary according to various monasteries and are generally used in religious dances. They are regarded as a form of sculpture and are three dimensional or semi three dimensional hard shaped masks made from roughcasts. The masks symbolise Gods and spirits and hence exhibit constancy and solemnity in their making. They are treasured and enshrined in monasteries after their use in religious performances.
Folk art masks are used in folk singing, ballad singing, operas and storytelling performances. Since they are used for entertainment purposes they have no design restrictions and express the thoughts and character of the tribes. There are different kinds of masks like animal masks, demon masks and human figure masks in different colours with each colour exhibiting various characteristics like red for intelligence and bravery, yellow for knowledge and far -sightedness, green for merit and virtue, black for cruelty, white for peace, purple for hatred and blue for fearlessness.
Besides this paper making, shoemaking, hat making and incense making are practised by the tribes.



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