India | Chhattisgarh

Tribal Combs of Chhattisgarh

Young boys and girls of Muria tribe, belonging to Bastar District of Chhattisgarh, use combs as a decorative item on their hairs. These carved combs are symbolic of the love and admiration that they receive.

On attaining adolescence, the girls and boys become the members of a dormitory called Ghotul. In this dormitory boys gift specially carved combs to the girls of their choice. These combs are carved by the boys themselves. The combs worn by the boys are bigger and more detailed in their carving and style. These combs are never exchanged.

A young woman wears all the combs that she received from her admirers and lovers in Ghotul. It is mandatory for the woman to remove the combs gradually after her marriage and return these combs to her former lovers and admirers. But she must not remove the combs given to her by her husband.

The motifs used on the doors, pillars and walls of the Ghotul and those found on the combs are related to the fertility cult of these tribal people. Commonly used images are fishes, birds, chameleons, horses and elephants. These combs are made from either roots or the soft stem of some particular plants. Tools like knife are used to give them shape.

Updated on 7th June, 2005
District: Bastar


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