The Naga people comprising of 30 different tribes and spread over the the rugged terrains of north-east of India have traditionally lived-in self-reliant village settlements and have thus mastered crafts such as wood working, weaving, metal-working etc to provide for everyday objects such as beds, mats, stools, wooden dishes etc. Using wood, bamboo, cane, bones, bark fibres, their furniture is reflective of their simple tools and natural environments. Embellished with artistic expressions through wooden carvings, dyes etc they have created some of the most potent ritualistic art for everyday life and ceremony.
Naga style furniture is usually made from a single piece of wood – without nails. The simplicity and gravity of these pieces is palpable. The sculpted doors, carved poles and panels are dense with symbolism – the engraved mithun horns, tigers, pythons, hornbill beaks, human-heads, monkeys made with basic tools like the dao, axe, adze, and chisel all connect to their lived experiences. The wood carvings are often colored in black, terracotta and white pigments derived from natural sources; they proclaimed the status and power of the house owner or the village itself.
“The Naga Show” a photographic anthropological journey captured assiduously over a decade by photographer Pablo Bartholomew is on view at Nine Fish from 26th February 2022 to 24th March 2022. Their artwork and their magnificent embellishment are eminently manifested in these photographs showcasing the authenticity of Naga furniture. The show is complemented by original pieces of Naga furniture and artifacts from The Great Eastern Home’s collection. The presentation of the material objects of the Naga peoples alongside the photographs brings home the nuanced sophistication of these unique tribes.
Talking about Naga style furniture Dr. Anurag Kanoria, Director, The Great Eastern Home, said “Naga style furniture is massive in scale and form, but graphic in representation Carved doorways, beds, Naga-related goods, and paintings will be on show at The Great Eastern Home in Naga style. The carved wooden designs are not just artful and striking – they are steeped in meaning. The Naga style furniture at The Great Eastern Home is authentic and one-of-a-kind.”
Photographs by Pablo Bartholomew on The Nagas will open at the Nine Fish Art Gallery, Byculla, Mumbai, from 26th February 2022 to 24th March 2022, daily from 10.30 A.M. to 7.30 P.M. Furniture, artefacts, jewellery, carved panels etc by The Great Eastern Home. The event is curated by Dot Line Space.