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Black Stoneware: The Traditional Pottery from Longpi

Black Stone pottery utensils from Longpi village in verdant Ukhrul district of Manipur, in the North East of India, is elegant, eco-friendly and functional. The Longpi wares can be a portal to natural, toxin-free life. It is handcrafted from natural stones without using chemicals or leaving any carbon footprints. This ancient craft from Manipur thrives in the village of Longpi in Manipur. The exceptional traditional pottery craft sustains women of the Tangkhul Naga tribe, who make this black stoneware.

Mythological Connection of Longpi Ham

The Tangkhul Nagas believe that Goddess Parbati or Panthobi created a black stone bowl to provide food to starving people. The Tangkhul people say that goddess made the bowl of serpentine stone. The people of Manipur venerate Goddess Parbati by cooking ritualistic food in Longpi pots.

Rich and Royal Longpi Ham

This black stoneware was called ‘Longpi Ham’, or ‘Loree Hamlei’. It was afforded only by the rich and hence called or ‘royal pottery’. The rich utilize these pots for cooking food for special occasions like marriages and festivities in Longpi ham.

Craft Technique of Longpi Ham

Longpi Hampai black stone pottery is made from weather-worn rock and serpentinite from the Longpi river bed in the Ukhrul district. The tedious process of creating the beautiful utensils is an ancient art kept alive by the women of Manipur. The wares are mould by hand without using the potters’ wheel from Serpentine rock and Weathered rock. The powdered stones are mixed with water in a particular ratio to get a clay-like consistency.

After kneading the mixture carefully, the pots and utensils are given shape with hands with the help of moulds. The clay shapes of saucer cups, kettle, frying pan, fruit bowls, cooking pot are dried and then put in the kiln for hours. After hours of heating in the kiln Heated at a very high temperature of 900 degrees Celcius, the pots are taken out and polished with Chiron Na( (Pasania pachyphylla) leaves to get the lustrous black texture and sheen of this pottery.

Sustaining Communities in Longpi

The Longpi stonewares are gaining traction globally, and there is high demand for the lustrous wares in European countries. Today, designers guide the Longpi women to fashion the black stone bowls, platters, kettle sets, other kitchenware in contemporary style. The functional and beautiful wares sell for a considerable price providing a sustainable source of livelihood to women of the Tangkhul Naga tribes who practice this exceptional pottery style.

The Longpi village in Ukhrul, in Manipur, is the centre of this beautiful craft.

Longpi stonewares use & benefits

Today sustainable lifestyle is the need of the hour. Hence, bring home a few Longpi wares and lessen a few toxins from your daily life by using these pots for cooking.

Longpi wares have many benefits. Here are some plus points of this black stoneware:

The heat stays in the stone for a longer time, so food sizzles and stays warm.

The iron from the stone gets infused into the food, great for pregnant women.

The handcrafted wares are microwave friendly, dishwasher safe and open flame safe.

It is ideal for cooking and storing food.

It is chemical-free and has no adverse health effects.

Photo Credit Google Images.

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