CULTURE - POTTERY
Women making pots at Salmora
Once again, the annual weather patterns prevalent on the island govern the manufacture processes of pottery practiced. During the pre monsoon period, the earth is dug with shallow pits spread wide to store earth during the floods. During the flood season of June to September, alluvial deposition occurs during flood on river banks filling the cavities and dugouts left after extraction of clay. There is predominant infilling of dugouts with clay deposits from heavy silt and sandy loam discharge.
Pots taken by boat for trade
Nearly 5000 people depend on this traditional style of pot making for their livelihood. Pottery is a hereditary profession. It is practiced by the successive generations of the community members, irrespective of their castes. Potters are dependent on the river Brahmaputra as it provides clay required for making pots. The river is also the prime means of transportation for trade of the pots. The tools required to make pots are made from locally available timber and bamboo. These are made by the potters themselves.
MATERIAL RESOURCE BASE
Glutinous clay is obtained from the river banks of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries which form a network of water channels which are significant in overall drainage system of the Majuli Island. Clay required for making pots is procured from clay pits about 30 feet deep from the ground along the banks of the river. These get replenished during the annual floods of the river. Hence, the availability of the clay is in abundance. The tools required for making pots are made from the locally available timber by potters themselves.
In high floods, driftwoods from the upper reaches of Arunachal, Naga Hills and other tributaries floating in the Brahmaputra River are caught with boat. The collection continues till night and lasts almost entire flood time. Woods are staked in the front yard of the house, used for firewood in the firing of the kiln. It is a community activity with sharing of firewood between the people.