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  Nyishi Culture
Home   ›   Destinations   ›   Ziro-Palin-Nyapin-Sangram-Koloriang  ›   Nyishi Culture

Nyishi Culture: The Nyishi is one of the major tribes which inhabit as many as five districts viz-Upper Subansiri, Lower Subansiri, Kurung Kumey, Papum Pare, East Kameng and in some parts of west Kameng of Arunachal Pradesh including Sonitpur and North Lakhimpur districts of Assam. As per census-2001, Nyishi have having about 2.5 lakhs out of 10,97,968 total population of the state, which is the one third of the total Scheduled Tribe population. Therefore, Nyishi is the single largest tribe of the state. The people basically belong to Paleo-Mongoloid stock and speak the Tibeto-Burmese group of language. They are the descendents of Abo Tani-a mythical forefather. Nyishis evolved a joint family system, generally no individual owns properties – both movable and immovable. The movable properties include traditional valued items like Talu (brass plate), Mazi (Tibetan tongueless bell), Tasang (bead), Dumping (comb like item), Kozi (bangle), Huhi (disc), Oriok (sword), Raji, domesticated animals such as Sebe (Mithun, a bose front talis), Shey (cow), Sebing (goat), Erik (pig), Puruk (hen). Mythological background. It can also be used for bartering prestigious and costly traditional valuables such as Mazi, Talu, Tasang etc: The Mithun is treated sacred because in almost all ceremonial rituals, sacrifice of Mithun is compulsory.

Nyishis are expert in handicrafts i.e. weaving, cane & bamboo works, pottery, blacksmith, wood carving and carpentry etc. Traditionally, the basic purpose of producing these craft articles was to meet the demands of the family. Agriculture, livestock breeding, hunting and fishing sustained the Nyishis to maintain a high degree of self-sufficiency in so far as food is concerned. However, the additional requirements such as cloth, utensil, salt etc. are obtained through barter trade-evolved since and immemorial, among themselves and from their neighbours. Early Nyishis confined their trading activities amongst the tribesmen themselves and with the people across the northern border called Nyeme chanam i.e. trade link with the Tibetans.

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