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Wooden ornaments of Jorhat

Jorhat (Assam), May 28 (ANI): Fifty-year-old Jadab Mahanta in Assam’s Jorhat district is drawing attention from all over India for his skills in traditional arts, crafts and wooden ornaments.

Hailing from a small village in Assam, Mahanta carves fascinating wooden ornaments, masks and wooden craftwork at his home in Bor Alengi Village of Jorhat.

Mahanta creates facemasks for different characters of traditional dramas. By putting material like bamboo, wood, gray clay, cow dung and natural color paints to good use, he creates the wonderful masks.

Mahanta’s wooden ornaments are not just popular in India but abroad as well.

“My products are exported outside the country to Denmark, Thailand, USA. In India, it goes to Delhi, Kolkata and all over the country. I made different designs of lockets, pendants, chain, ring and bangles,” said Jadab Mahanta.

His skill and creativity in mask-making has earned him recognition by the Assam State Museum, Jorhat Museum and National Museum, New Delhi.

His work is quite popular in north eastern India and people from different districts of Assam come to him for placing their orders.

“I always help him (husband) in making mask and wooden ornaments. Though, it’s a time consuming work, lots of demands pour in from outside the state (specially wooden ornaments) and as well as from the state. For this (wooden ornaments) my husband is very popular in the region. Through this additional income, we look after the needs of our children’s studies,” said Reenu Mahanta, his wife. 

“I was an unemployed youth. I realized that learning these arts would give benefits in future, so I requested him to train me. He readily agreed. Through him, my life has changed into a productive youth and now I am permanently engaged in painting and making of mask in our Satra (Vaishnavite Temple). I am regularly saving some amount from my income for my future,” says Porag Jyoti.

Mahanta says that he has used his expertise to preserve Sanchipat, a sheet made of bark from Agar tree. It was used in Assam for writing purposes, before the advent of paper. 

With ‘Look East’ policy bringing the South East Asian market closer to north east; craftsmen like Mahanta will be able to find bigger markets for their products.

He is today a source of inspiration for the youth in the state who want to create a niche for themselves in the world. (ANI)

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