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Graphic and plastic art of the Kharam tribe of Manipur

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Author: 
Dr. Sagolshem Jayalaxmi Devi
Abstract: 

The Kharam, one of the small tribes of Manipur is found inhabiting in four villages of Senapati District. The Kharam believe that their ancestors originated from a cave located near Makhel, which is about ten kilometers away from Oklong village, Senapati District. Another theory suggests that they along with other groups of Tibeto-Burman family came from south west China. The present study is about the graphic and plastic art of the Kharam tribe of Manipur. It is very interesting to note the different forms of the Kharam graphic and plastic art. It includes carving and engraving in the wood, stone ivory etc., sculpture in wood, clay modeling and toy making, painting, textile, basketry, personal ornamentation etc. The graphic and plastic art, found among the Kharam culture make them distinct from the other tribes. The art of carvings, paintings, decorative pieces etc., have a multiple reflect to each society (for instance it reflects the customs, economy, religious peculiarity as well as the way of life of the ethnic group etc.). Such carvings and paintings are found on the household utensils, personal ornamentations and memorial stones. The dance, music and songs have great importance in the social life of Kharams. Folk songs remove their dullness at the time of working and after works; they also sing songs at dormitories and different occasions of the village. Moreover, the dresses of dancers, style and gestures make the Kharam tribe distinct from other tribal communities. The Kharams are good artists and fond of fine arts. It is proved by their skills in weaving with different designs. They are experts not only in weaving but also in embroidery and appliqué works; they produce different kinds of clothes of their own culture. They use different kinds of musical instruments like gong and drum, trumpet, flute, guiter like string instrument, buffalo's horn, a complicated folk instrument called Roshem etc. in festivals and other important occasions of the village. The data are based on available primary and secondary sources.

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