AnSI museum displays tribal culture in Central India

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 18 May 2018 12:04:55


By Rajendra Diwe,

Museum of Central Regional Centre Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) situated on Seminary Hills is unique of its kind. The museum is one of the best three museums of AnSI across the country. The museum is dedicated to the tribal culture in Central India.

Dr Sanjay Shukla, Assistant Keeper and Incharge of AnSI museum said, “ On the occasion of World Museum Day being celebrated on May 18, the museum has been equipped with number of new things. On the entrance of the hall ‘Maria Khamba’ attracts the visitors. This is a replica of memorial pillar erected by Maria tribe in loving memory of their kith and kin. The wooden log is the embodiment of mute struggle in entire life of the departed soul. It highlights the glimpses of nature, interaction with man in farming activities, hunting, dancing, local flora and fauna, their deities. The influence of Hindu deities is the salient feature of the painting on these memorial pillars. This represents the trait of megalithic culture among the tribes of Central India.”

The museum has replica of Ghotul, a tribal hut surrounded by earthen or wooden walls. It is an integral part of Gond and Muria tribal life in regions of Chhattisgarh and the neighboring areas in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh in India. Ghotul door displayed in the museum has artistic work made by tribals, he added.

Replica of Deogudi is well maintained in the museum. In tribal life Deogudi is an place of importance. It is a place generally situated in the heart of tribal village, where tribals keep different gods and goddesses for worship. It has a ritual role in socio economic life of the tribals.

Dr Shukla mentioned that one section has been dedicated to recreation in tribal life. “ Tribal Musical instruments are intimate and integral part of the tribal society. Tribes of India are famous for their indigenous music and instruments. Central Indian Tribes sing and play musical instruments for their entertainment as well as for important socio-religious purposes such as marriage, death, sowing, harvesting, community hunt and cure of diseases,” he said.
Stating that one section has been dedicated to pottery and art of tribals in central India, Dr Shukla stated, “Pottery is regarded as man’s first attempt at craftsmanship and potter’s wheel symbolizes the age old ritual creation. Terracotta motifs represent ritualistic and decorative aspects of tribal life through which the inherent fears and aspirations are expresses. The use of clay figures is widely prevalent to mark both auspicious as well as inauspicious occasions in tribal life.”

Museum displays Dokra Art. Bastar region is famous for its Dokra Art. Now, the art is vanishing. The artisans of Dokra Art are the Ghadwas and it is regarded as their traditional occupation. Dokra art is an art of bell metal. It is done by the age old technique of lost wax process. The Ghadwas produce a large array of brass images of Gods and Goddesses either riding on a horse or an elephant or a representative of Mata Shitala (the deity associated with small pox) and other artefacts. All these are the part and parcel of the tribal culture. Besides, they also make various types of decorative objects.

One can also observe household objects of tribals including the utensils for daily use and other domestic items, such as receptacles, baskets, earthen pots, storing vessels. These items are made by tribals with the help of locally available materials like pumpkin shells, bamboo-reeds, leaves and wood with distinct shapes and size. Each tribe has distinct mode of dressing. The ornaments worn by women are armlet, bangles, coin necklace and ear rings. The women also tattoo their body with various designs. Usual dress for men is dhoti, vest and turban and for women it is sari. The style of draping varies from tribe to tribe. The tools for hunting and food gathering are well displayed in the museum.