Traditional Craftsmanship > Musukha Dannai

Musukha Dannai

Musukha Dannai is a wooden art sculpture, made out of Saitan wood (known as Chitona in Bodo) with fine curvatures and skilled handwork. Found in Kokrajhar distruct in the Gossaigaon Tehsil of Assam, the sculpture was crafted in 1992. The wooden sculpture depicts the famous traditional folklore namely "Sandwa Baudiya" based on Bodo tradition and culture.

Sandwa Baudiya folklore is a traditional folk based story of a group of Bodo woodcutters (numbering 4-5), who camped deep in the jungle. They had gone into the jungle for collecting wood for domestic uses. While in the jungle, they pitched a camp by the river side and decided to stay there for few days till they finished their job. During their stay each person took turns to stay for the preparation of food, while others collected wood. As part of the turn in the camp, one day, Sandwa Baudiya (meaning a man of forgetful by nature) had to stay back and prepare food for the team. In the process of preparation of food and as part of cleaning the utensils, Sandwa Baudiya dipped the old utensils in the nearby rivulet- as soon as he did so the rivulet dried up. It should be noted here that Bodos strongly believe that the holiness and sanctity of nature should never be disturbed, they consider it a bad omen that leads to unwanted consequences. In the case of Sandwa Baudiya, to revive the water flow, he prayed and played Serenja (Country Violin -prevalent in the Bodo community) for the whole night to appease Goddess. Serenja incedently is a musical instrument generally inseparable from the Bathou festival (Kherai) and it has similarity with Chinese (Mongolian) musical note. Serenja is an imitation tone believed to be originated from the sound of Heron (Bortokla). At dawn the Goddess was finally satisfied and allowed the water to flow and glide down. The beautiful wooden 'Musukha Dannai' carving was sculpted, based on oral narrations. The sculpture itself demonstrates the belief of Bodos regarding the sanctity of nature and the need for its preservation. The sculpture depicts, amongst other things, wild animals such as elephant, deer, tiger, wild buffalo, beer, snake, and a mourning group of woodcutters and the flow of water is demonstrated through the beak of wild cock.

Tools such as chisel, hammer, paper (cringe) to smooth the wooden surface and using burnish (raw) treatment were used to complete the sculpture piece and it took around a month to be completed. The sculpture was made by the artisans/ craftsmen of the Bodo-Kachari caste of the Bodo tribe, and also has religious importance.

Contributed by: Pradeep, CEE- North East

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