Munda belong to the tribal group of Chota Nagpur Plateau region which is across Jharkhand and its adjoining states like Odisha and Assam. Their mother tongue is Mundari rand before this group turned into agricultural cultivators, they were wanderers and hunters since the primitive times.
Unhusked rice in India
The tribe has extensive rituals for all events of life like birth, death, marriage, etc. The ceremony performed on the engagement is known as Lota-pani which is a week long festival and considered as the main ritual of life by them. Similarly, the departed by applying a paste of scented oil and turmeric on their face and body as the last decoration.
They use the burial stones to memorialize their buried ancestors and throughout the landscape of Chotanagpur you can see clusters of these stones. The people of this tribe have huge regards for everything that nature bestows upon them and turn all of it into pieces of art, like their very popular ‘Dhana Murti’.
Dhana Murti are idols made form unpeeled rice grain which is made by three major elements, i.e. rice grains, colored threads and bamboo slivers. The slivers are soaked in turmeric water and then dried.
The children loop the rice grains using the colored threads between two thin bamboo slivers after which the men fold and coil these sticks giving them different forms. The colored threads appear as beautiful patterns. These idols can be of the gods of Hindu mythology.
Their major works are the Urn and Peacock which symbolizes integrity, prosperity and beauty. It is really amazing to see how these artisans provide such an expression, art and design with such simple materials.