Longpi Pottery- Manipur’s Quaint Charm

One of the best kept secrets of Manipur happens to be the Longpi pottery. Locally known as Longpi Ham, it is the traditional craft of the state deriving its name from the ‘Longpi’ village. The lustrous blackstone pottery, traditionally, made by the Thangkul Naga tribe have not only kept the art form alive and thriving but also have made it popular globally.

Striking pots, vases, mugs, kettles and glasses are made by artisans, which are simple, minimalistic and black in colour. They have a smooth finish and as one touches them, one can feel their hands gliding over the surface. This blackstone pottery is made up of weather rocks and serpentine rocks. The serpentine stone which provides the strength and the weathered rock which acts as the binding agent are mixed in three to one ratio. These rocks are crushed, mixed with water to make clay, and then kneaded and flattened on a wooden board to start the process for pottery making. This mixture is placed on a circular board on a stool around which the potter moves with great dexterity and shapes the desired vessel. The unique feature of this pottery is that there is no potter’s wheel involved. These cups, pots, mugs are then exposed to fire, reaching a temperature of 900 Celsius. Post the kilning process, these utensils are then polished with local leaves called ‘Chiro Na’ which gives them the black colour and the smoothness.

Each piece is intrinsically handcrafted, without the use of any chemicals, thus making them hygienic as well as organic. A very rare feature which cannot be found in any other sort of pottery is that these are known to prevent morning sickness among pregnant women.The exclusivity in making of these magical pots also led it to be known as the royal pottery, because only the royals and nobles could afford it. The elitist status held by Longpi pottery led it to be used during special occasions like marriages, child birth and Luira festival.

The thermal capacity of serpentine rock is responsible for making these utensils stay warm long after they have been removed from the fire. Ideal for slow cooking, these are perfect to cook and serve. Longpi pottery collection includes a range of table and kitchenware like tumblers, plates, serving bowls, coffee & tea mugs, pans and carafes among others. The ethnicity, eco-friendliness and earthiness of the pottery make it not just functional but lends a style statement to your home.
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