Against the backdrop of escalating violence and economic strain in Manipur since 3 May 2023, Yinmayo Luiram, a 31-year-old artisan from Longpi village in Ukhrul district, has emerged as a symbol of resilience amidst adversity.

Naga artisan from Ukhrul finds market
Yinmayo Luiram

Facing a sharp decline in demand for her pottery and handicraft products in Manipur’s markets due to ongoing volatile situation, Luiram travelled to Mokokchung, Nagaland, in search of new opportunities for her family business.

“Our family is dependent on the sale of our pottery and baskets. However, due to the ongoing violence, the demand has decreased significantly in Ukhrul town and Imphal City. That’s why I’m here,” Luiram shared with Mokokchung Times. Luiram, a Tangkhul Naga, is now selling her products in Mokokchung’s town square, near the Mokokchung Town Baptist Church.

Black Stone Pottery
Black Stone Pottery

Luiram revealed that the pottery she sells is traditional, manufactured and supplied by a small Self-Help Group called Black Stone Pottery in Ukhrul, of which she and her husband are members.

“The pots are crafted from a local stone called ‘Lishon’ (Serpentinite) which is found only in Longpi village, while the baskets are woven from a grass-like material known as ‘Kauna,’  that is found in water,” explained Luiram adding that both the stones and the grass are exclusive to Manipur.

She said the art of pottery making and weaving is a skill passed down from generations. Explaining the production process, Luirem detailed how the stones are first crushed into powder by hands before being shaped into pots.
“The pots are made by the men in the group while the baskets are woven by the women of the group,” she said.

‘Kauna’ Baskets

Highlighting the quality of her products, Luiram emphasized that the baskets are durable, washable, and quick to dry, while the pots are chemical-free, ensuring healthy cooking. She added that their products have garnered demand outside Manipur, including places like Guwahati, Dimapur and Kohima although logistical constraints prevent them from meeting all requests due to their “fragility”.

Luiram said that she frequents Mokokchung for marketing purposes, making three to four trips annually. Despite fluctuating sales, she noted that during successful visits, she can earn profits.

The price range for the pottery is between Rs 1200 to 1800, while baskets are priced from Rs 300 to 1200.

Mokokchung Times

7 thoughts on “Naga artisan from Ukhrul finds market in Mokokchung amid Manipur crisis”
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