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The Seven Sisters of India
Prestel Publishers, Munich, London, New York and Mapin Publishing, Ahmedabad
ISBN Europe, America: 3-7913-2399-7
ISBN Asia: 81-85822-77-8 Mapin Publishing
168 pages, 405 color illustrations, 1 Map
Trim size: 9 x 12 in.
Price: EURO 59.00, USD 59.00
Pub Date: September 2000

This is the first comprehensive publication ever and an up-to-date survey on India's remote northeast. It´s an area which comprises seven isolated states stretching from Tibet in the north to Myanmar (Burma) in the south, which until recently were closed to foreigners. These seven states - Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya, and Assam comprise an area known as the "Seven Sisters of India". It is a region rarely visited by foreigners where peoples scarcely known to the Western world continue a way of life steeped in ancient ritual. This publication, the very first of its kind, explains and illustrates with numerous high-quality colorphotographs the various aspects of these fascinating cultures.

"The Seven Sisters of India" examines the political and historical background of the India´s seven northeastern states and provides a detailed and balanced picture of life in this remote region, which was last examined some 50 years ago. At that time reports were limited in scope and customs such as headhunting were given undue emphasis.

Individual chapters focus on the different aspects of life, religious belief, and ritual. Over 400 full-color photographs offer a glimpse into the life of these remote cultures, from their traditional architecture and dress to their healing and hunting practices. The geography of this region of contrasts, the origins of its people, the cult of the sun and the moon, ancestor worship, beliefs connected to headhunting and matrilineal structures are among those aspects given special attention.

In this region rarely visited by foreigners, over 500 distinct ethnic groups continue a way of life unchanged for centuries. For example, in Arunachal Pradesh, many people practice polygamy and worship the sun and the moon. In Manipur, native people perform elaborate, ritual dances to honor village deities. Shaman rituals are common in all of Northeast India and in parts Nagaland and adjeascent territories headhunting seems to be a "not-so-remote" custom.

Through photographs and descriptions, "The Seven Sisters of India" documents the traditions and daily life of the diverse inhabitants of this region, examining the myths and folklore stories connected to present-day practices among different groups. The book discusses both the diversity of the groups and the common traditions which unite them, making for a fascinating exploration of the little known provinces of North-east India.

About the Publishers:

Founded in 1924 and with over 300 English titles in print, Prestel is among the leading publishers for fine books on art, architecture, photography and design in the world. Prestel has offices in Munich, London and New York.

Mapin Publishing was founded by world-renowned actress/dancer/performer Mallika Sarabhai and Bipin Shah. They are located in Ahmedabad / Gujarat, India. Mapin has specialised in illustrated books on Indian art and culture and is the leader in its field in South Asia.

Table of contents:

Preface. An Introduction.

1. The Seven Sisters of India : The Tribal Realm.

2. The Indigenous Peoples of Northeast India and their Origins.

3. The Apa Tanis : Fathers of Mankind in a Rice Bowl.

4. The Peoples of the Sun and Moon: United in Donyi-Polo.

5. The House—the Womb.

6. In Heaven as on Earth: The Mythology of Weaving.

7. All is Color and Motion: The World as a Dance.

8. Poetry, Devotion and Strength: The Art of the Manipuri

9. Words of the Shaman in a Jungle of Spirits.

10. High Religion and Magicians: Buddhism between Tibet and Burma.

11. "I am the Tiger, the Buffalo is my Sister" : Man, Beast and Missionaries in Northeast India.

12. Fertility Through Stones and Heads, Power Through Pain.

13. Women’s Mysterious Realm: Imas, Matrilineality, and the Great Mother.

Footnotes. Bibliography. Travel information.

Angami Nagas, Nagaland
A Chief´s house at Maram Khullen, Manipur