Cluster Detail
Manipur     Imphal     Khongnang Pheidekpi

A cluster is defined as a geographic concentration(a city/town/few adjacent villages and their adjoining areas)of units producing near similar products and facing common opportunities and threats.An artisan cluster is defined as geographically concentrated(mostly in villages/townships)household units producing handicraft/handloom products.In a typical cluster,such producers often belong to a traditional community,producing the long-established products for generations.Indeed,many artisan clusters are centuries old Artisan.


About Andro Cluster:-

Khongnang Pheidekpi Cluster falls under Manipur State in Imphal district.

The Khongnang Pheidekpi cluster is able to form above 165 Artisans and 9 SHGs supporting the strong work force.The mobilisation gains momentum day by day. Khongnang Pheidekpi Cluster is famous for Terracotta and Metal Ware.






The terracotta art with its long and continuous history of the preceding centuries has imbibed such ideals which are based upon a thorough & xplicit understanding of the human form. Clay craft is probably the earliest of mans creations and marks his coming of age. It is as though as man faced nature he was stirred by its challenge. Moulded out of the earth himself he wanted to extend the boundaries of his material existence to give expression to his creative spirit. So he took the earth in his hands and began to fashion a whole new world of infinite shapes of grace and elegance. 
India is rich in her terracotta and pottery traditions many of which have their roots in prehistory. Pottery has a wide universality and its tradition goes back to span of five millennium.Terracotta pottery has been called the lyric of handicrafts because of its irresistible appeal.A variety of earthen objects are created such as lamps, pitchers, flower vases, pots, musical instruments, candle stands etc. 
In Chairan, Shangmai and Thongiao villages of Thoubal district and Andro in Imphal(East), Terracotta articles, including toys are produced as ritual items for decoration and for utility through out the state.The other crafts made are incense burners, toys , dolls and figurines etc. 



Raw materials:- 


Basic Material : Mitti / clay, mustard oil, potter wheel, gum, starch, wax,Clay, potters wheel, twigs, dry branches, leaves, firewood, rice straw, Red clay, black clay, pilli mitti, yellow clay,Various types of Mitti (clay/mud), edible gum, starch, clay, wax. Decorative Material:ash, sand, cow-dung, rice husk,Clay, sand, phunanphadi(wet cloth), phuzei(wooden beater), kangkhil, sealed vessel slab, lepshum(cylindrical platform),Plastic clay mitti, mustard oil, potters wheel, edible gum, starch, feldspar, clay, wax . 




The shapes which are required for a variety of uses are turned on the wheel.The certain portions such as the spout or the handle are left out.They are casted separately and than attached to the body. After it, the decoration is done by incising patterns on the surface for making geometrical patterns. 
The clay mixed with ash and sand is kneaded by feet, collected and cut with lahasur.It is then kneaded with hand, on peeda and a lump is made.All the solid particles are removed. The ready clay is kept on wheel for making various forms.A potters wheel has short sports, turns on a pivot of hard wood or metal and is provided with a large hub which acts as a revolving table.A vertical stick is inserted in the hole in the rim.The potter throws the kneaded clay into the centre of the wheel, and spins the wheel around with the stick. Due to the centrifugal force the lump of clay is pulled outwards and upwards and shaped into a vessel.This is pulled out with a string, dried and fired in a potters kiln.Clay article after firing turns to terracotta.
The pots are fired in simple open-pit kilns that are very efficient and inexpensive for firing pots at a temperature of 700 - 800 degree Celsius.The pots are arranged in layers of pots, a layer of leaves, twigs and cow dung cake is some times added.The mound is then covered with a blanket of rice straw which, in turn is covered with a thin layer of loamy soil.The firing takes four to five hours.
Black, red and yellow clay are used for making terracotta items, which are collected in the form of small pieces from Rajasthan and Delhi.The material is mixed properly and dried under the hot sun so that any sort of moisture, if present, may evaporate.Then the mixture of wet clay is filtered through a fine sieve to remove pebble. After giving shape with hands the items are then baked in the improvisede kilns covered with cow dung cakes, fuel and saw dust etc.
The clay, mixed with ash and sand is kneaded by feet.Then it is kneaded with hand on peeda & a lump is made.All the solid particles like gravel, small pebbles, twigs etc. are removed.The ready clay is kept on wheel to make various forms.A potters wheel has soft spokes, turns on a pivot of hard wood or metal and is provided with a large hub, which acts as revolving table.A vertical stick is inserted in the hole in the rim.The potter throws the kneaded clay into the centre of the wheel and spins the wheel around with a stick. Due to the centrifugal force the lump of clay is pulled outwards & upwards and shaped into a vessel.This is pulled out with a string, dried and fired in a potters kiln.Clay article after firing turns to terracotta.





Women potters practice a unique hand modeling technique, probably dialing back to earlier than Neolithic times before the invention of the wheel.The products made are surface of plain pots, water filters, vases, incense burners, lamps and hukkas. 





Metal Ware:-


Metal craft of Manipur has not flourished to big trade and remains limited to local surroundings. There are number of metal items made apart from the regular ones. Artists here design products in unique shapes and have derived aesthetic value from ancient low wax process. Apart from bell metal brass, copper and bronze are the metals used for making items.


The metal craft of Manipur has socio-cultural links and according to the traditions of the state, the bride is presented with a set of brass and bell metal articles for starting off her new home. However, in all major temples almost invariably the moving image or the `Chalanti Pratima` of the presiding deities is made of brass. Among the major icons, the large brass image of Radha in the`Sakhigopal temple` in Puri district , images in temples in Ganjam district, Krishna, Radha, Ganesha, Gurundi Gopal and Laxmi idols are created with the brass metal. The artisans generally create items based on the motifs of human heads, kings, `Manas` or miniature replica of measures; other items include containers with lids, with or without locking devices, candle stands, ashtrays, pen stands, bowls, plates, spoons, glass, tumbler, bells, thali (plates), handi, baltis (buckets), gina (tumblers), pots and pans, ladles or `Chatu`, perforated flat cooking spoons etc. Even items like the brass fish and snakes are made by the craftsmen of Belguntha in Ganjam district.



Raw Materials:-


In India, Brass and Copper are used for making various usable objects since ancient time. It has a rich tradition of making metal objects which are used for both religious and secular purposes. A wide variety of objects include standing lamps, aarathi (votive lamps), deepalakshmis, hand lamps and chain lamps. Shallow dishes circular, hexagonal, octagonal and oval shapes are widely used and are made out of bronze or sheet brass. The popular Thanjavur plates are characterized by designs of deities, birds, flowers, and geometric patterns beaten out from the back of copper and silver sheets and subsequently encrusted on a brass tray, kudam or panchpaathra. Metal toys are also popular and are sold at various gift outlets in various towns and cities of the state.





The craftsmen cast their own pieces, making moulding clay from sand, resin and oil in proportion (20:2:1) and add borax to the clay surface to prevent the metal sticking.The alloy, the darkened zinc used as base is described as nine to sixteen part of zinc to one of copper, is melted and poured into the moulds and solidified.


The surface of the rough cast of the articles is filed and smoothened with sand paper and then rubbed with a solution of copper sulphate to impart a dark surface to provide a suitable base for the next stage of tracing the design and engraving.


To engrave the design, wax from honeycomb and Raal a bonding agent is used. This solution is spread on a flat stone and the article to be engraved is fixed on it. The design is traced by hand, with the help of chisels and pure silver wire of 95% purity is inlaid in the grooves to form designs. There are five different types of tools used for engraving.


In the ultimate interesting stage, the articles are heated gently and treated with a solution of sal-ammoniac and earth taken from old fort buildings, which has the effect of making the entire surface turn jet black providing a distinct contrast to the shining silver inlay.


It is this contrast that lends Bidri a uniqueness that no other metal ware could possibly claim. Finally, oil is rubbed on the piece to deepen the black matt coating. The entire process is done by hand hence, is time consuming.





The techniques of metalworking follow the same principles, whether the scale of design is industrial or sculptural, or even at the tiny scale of a ring or a pair of earrings. Furthermore, many of the basic techniques also relate to work in other media.


Applique:- The technique of creating a design by soldering or granulating cut-out shapes of sheet metal to another metal surface.


Casting:- The process of shaping a molten metal by means of a mold.


Chasing:- A technique for surface embellishing of metal accomplished by driving pointed tools into the metal.


Enameling:- The fusing of a glassy substance onto metal. Enamels are combinations of flux and metal oxides (for color). Cloisonne is one of the better known enamel techniques.


Repousee:- A technique of pushing metal out from its reverse side using hammers and punches in order to create a low relief design on the front.






How to reach:-


The nearest railhead to Imphal is the Dimapur railway station which is located at a distance of 215 km and is near Manipur. It will take about 8 hours journey to reach Imphal from Dimapur by bus or taxi. Nagaland and Manipur State buses operate from the towns of Aizwal, Dimapur, Itanagar, Kohima, Shillong and Agartala. The frequency of the buses is every day and the tariff per seat is Rs 75 to Rs 250. Dimapur to Imphal requires a bus travel of 8 hours.




About Implementing Agency

Manipur     Imphal     The Self Help aAsociation