Traditional crafts of Manipur

Cane and Bamboo


In the state of Manipur, bamboo is grown in abundance at Jiribam, Churachandpur, Imphal and Tamenglong districts. Owing to this abundance of bamboo in the state, Manipur is the second largest producer of bamboo products, after Tripura. Some of the products of bamboo made in the state of Manipur are Basketry, tray, table, chair, mats, murhas, sofa sets, ashtray, flower vase and other similar utility products. Owing to the practice of Jhum cultivation, the cultivation of bamboo and cane products have been seriously affected. 


Considered as a traditional craft, stone carving is very popular in Manipur, especially Bishnupur. Some of the utility products made from stone-carving are stone glasses, plates, candle stands, bowls, flower vases etc. There is a custom among the Manipuris, to prepare an engraved memorial stone for the deceased, which would record the good deeds and achievements of that person, and place them in the village community areas. Thus, stone carving has been popular since early days.

Kauna (Water Reed) Crafts

A special type of reed grown in the wetlands and marshes, Kauna is in great demand in Manipur. The Imphal Valley area of Manipur is the hub for Kauna crafts. It is often used for making coasters, mats, chairs, murhas, bags, cushion etc.

Wood Carving

Wood carving is very much prevalent and popular in Manipur, just like it is in neighbouring Nagaland. Owing to non availability of transport links with the rest of the country, Manipur was heavily dependent upon wood for preparing utility products. The products generally made are spoon, tray, drums etc.

Textile Weaving

Considered as the household industry of Manipur, textile weaving is extremely popular in Manipur. The imported cotton threads are dyed in pink, red, green, yellow, black and orange colours. Then, artistic designs and patterns are applied on the material, to create a design. The rhythm of colour bands are maintained, while giving designs to the cloth material. The craft of textile weaving is also known as Laichamphi, in Manipur. The loin loom weaving and production caters to local demand only.

Dolls and Toys

The making of dolls and toys from bamboo, wood, clay and cotton is very much in prevalence, in the state of Manipur. Traditional outfits adorn the doll and provide it with a charm of its own. The Dolls include characters such as Thoibi, Radha-Krishna, Khamba, birds and animals.

Hand-Embroidery and Block Printing

Practiced by both men and women, hand embroidery is an extremely popular craft in Manipur. There are almost ten varieties crafts in existence in Manipur and some of the most popular among them are Motrangphee, Singh Nangpan, Khamenchatpa Kabui and Namthang-Khut-hut. Legendary figures and animal motifs are the major figures portrayed on the products. Hand block printing is also a very popular craft in Manipur and bed-sheets and printed bed covers are usually made using the craft. 

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