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Craft of northeast resembles that of Latin America: Research
Wednesday November 12, 2014 7:27 PM, IANS

Pottery, textiles and spiritual exercises prevalent in India's northeast closely resemble that of the equally forested interior belts of Latin America, a research paper said here Wednesday.

"The coiling techniques employed in moulding mud pots have been identical in both the regions, so is the back-strap loom used in the making of clothes," research scholar Shubha Banerji said at a session at the ongoing Indian Art History Congress (IAHC) here.

The 23rd IAHC is being organised by the National Museum in association with the National Museum Institute.

Banerji said two years of intense research had led her to conclude that the "commonalities between the practices in the two continents trace to batches of major inter-continental population shifts theorised by international ethnologists".

In her paper "Cross-Cultural Assimilation: A Comparative Study of Indian and Pre-Columbian Art", the Delhi-based researcher tracked some of the pre-historical migration routes and noted unmistakable resemblances in certain areas of human activity in the northeast and Latin America.

According to a statement, a variety of traditional clay pots (Leimarombi Chaphu Leibak) Manipuri people use have their moulding techniques and eventual shape much like what some Peruvian communities employ at religious ceremonies.

"The simple loom which has the warps stretched between two bars is common to both the peoples," said Banerji, who is an assistant curator with the Pre-Columbian and Western Art section at the museum.

Another aspect where the two cultures meet are "magico-spiritual" practices found within the ethnic religions of certain communities in the two geographies.

"In both cases, the practitioner is believed to contact spirits, including healers and prophets, through a string of rituals that each would claim are unique to them," she said.

The conclave at the National Museum will conclude Nov 14.

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