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 and before this group turned into agricultural cultivators, they were wanderers and hunters since the primitive times. 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.
The town of Madhopur is the perfect blend of wildlife and the natural beauty. As the sun sets over the town bringing into life every stone, the birds fly away and the deer runs far because it is time for the elegant tiger to play its part. In this same setting, you would find a villager coming to the river to wash a basket filled with black pots and glasses. This town is named after Maharaja Sawai Madho Singhji I who is known to have given it the current plan. Apart from this, the city has witnessed many historic reigns from Rana Kumbha to Akbar and Aurangzeb. Every ruler played his part in the renovation and beautification of the city.
As time passed by, the city itself has undergone various changes while nurturing the handicrafts practice by the local artists. This sector has flourished even after having faced some hard times. The major attraction of these crafts is the unique and special way in which they do pottery which is black in color. The clay used is from the banks of the Banas River which is cleaned and stored. The mud is turned beautifully in the wheel and after a desired shape is achieved, it is cut from the bottom using a thread. The potter then uses his skill to smoothen and polish the product which is then dried and finally fired. The greyish black hue in the pottery is the speciality of Sawai Madhopur.
These kumbhars-the traditional potters, also create paperweights, decorative figures, plaques of deities. Each product of the pottery speaks a story of these artisans who have revived after a financial breakdown.
Ashoka Exports makes use of a material which West Bengal is famous for. A long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre that can be spun into course, strong thread, jute fibres are also woven into curtains, chair coverings, carpets, area rugs, hessian cloth. The second most important vegetable fibre after cotton, jute is used extensively in the exquisite bags that Ashoka Exports creates.” Working with beads and new and creative ideas means that we
can give our clients a ‘new look’ product,” says Sushil Khaitan.”We focus on durable materials like jute and cotton which are acceptable all across the world,” he emphasizes. These materials also give Ashoka Exports the advantage of using eco-friendly methods of manufacturing. The high quality products only means that they have varied clients from countries like Europe, US, Japan, Middle East and South East Asia. In the business since 1994, Company’s expertise has made Ashoka Exports popular with clients. The company believes in building lasting and impressive relationships with clients, keeping in mind the deadlines which must satisfy their regular and repeated buyers.