India | Orissa

Tribal Combs of Orissa

Tribal Combs of Orissa vary in design, craft, color, shape, size, and material, depending upon the socio-economic conditions, cultural beliefs, and tradition of the particular tribe. Of the sixty-two tribes inhabiting Orissa, around 12 to 15 tribes only know the art of comb making. It is often bartered for livelihood. Various varieties of tribal comb found in the region are Juang Comb, Santal Comb, Dangaria Kandh Comb, Kutia Kandh Comb, Durua Comb, Lanjia Saora Comb, Koya Comb, and Desia Kandh Comb.

The combs of Juang are noted for their creative imagination and artistic skills. In this tirbe apart from the normal use, comb is mostly used as a gift or presentation item for lovers. It is used for taking out thorns from the body. A special variety is made using split bamboo, wooden plates, cotton fabric, iron knife, and gum from a local shrub.

The Santal Comb is a prized possession in their house hold which bears a great deal of socio-cultural importance in their life. Usually they get it in exchange of agricultural produce from the lower caste residents of their village. The combs are intricately carved and designed and are used only for combing or knotting the hair.

The Dangaria comb is characteristic of the Dangaria tribes. They make it out of ox and buffalo horns. Usually the combs are made by the young boys of the tribe who then gift it to their beloveds. Men generally tuck it to their loin cloth while women carry the comb tucked to their hair.

In the Kutia community, combs are made by the young boys of the community. It is given as a present to a newly married bride when she comes to her husbandís village. It is semi circular in shape.

Lanjia Saora Combs are made out of wood and bamboo, with beautiful images carved on it. The Koya combs are made using the commonly available bamboo and sapo palm fabric. Gapa Patul combs are small in size and are intricately carved on its plate. Desia Kandh Combs are of two types, one made out of lac and the other from bamboo and textile.

Updated on 7th January, 2015


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