Basketry and mat
weaving is one of the very oldest of man's creations done by
joining grass with grass and interlacing leaves, with the
minimum of tools. In India, the grass mat was used for religious
purposes like sitting down to pray, meditate or offer worship.
Bamboo, cane, jute, reeds, grasses and palm leaves are used as
raw material for basketry and mats. Coiled basketry is the
earliest known craft form in this genre and has an affinity with
weaving. The kangri, a willow basket with a handle, containing
an earthen pot, is the most typical and indispensable part of a
Kashmiri's belongings. In Ladakh, long conical shaped backpack
baskets are woven out of willow, malchang, and a local grass
called chipkiang, to carry everything from manure, grain and
vegetables to babies.
Jute and coconut fibers are used
in the southern states while leaves of date palm are used in the
northern states. In most of the plains of central and northern
India, window screens, known as chiks, are made of fine bamboo
slates and tied with plain or coloured string in artistic
designs. The tall golden-white grass is used to make mudhas and
chairs. Bihar is known for its coiled basketry using a grass
locally known as sikki. The grass is used to create lovely
dolls, toys and caskets.
Assam, a state with abundant raw materials, has a large variety of
beautiful products like baskets, mugs for rice beer, hukkas,
musical instruments, floor mats, fishing devices and handles. The
basketry and the mats are very much alike in Assam and Bengal.
Tripura's speciality is screens made from split bamboo. These are
sometimes described as "root carvings".
Mizo baskets, made for the carrying of rice, are woven with
four long bamboo splints at the corners. Arunachal Pradesh excels in
cane and bamboo work with bamboo bridges and cane belts. Orissa has
some outstanding items made from what is known as the "golden
grass". Manipur has very unusual type of baskets, with dome shaped
lids made out of bamboo. Tamil Nadu is famed for its kora
grass mats. Kerala is
also known for extremely delicate and very aristocratic mats.
inlay, which developed and flourished through Mughal influence
involves the placing of small parts of ivory, plastic, horn, metal
pieces or other types of wood into carved surfaces of wooden items.
This is found in various parts of the country such as Gujarat,
Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
Karnataka is famous for the inlay work of rosewood. Surat in
Gujarat is famous for its framed marquetry work known as Sadeli.
Bhavnagar in Gujarat is famous for its large sized chests known as pataras.
Kerala is famous for its decorating wooden chests and boxes bound by
brass bands. Its jewel
box called netturpetty is an excellent example of this work.
The classical style of woodwork like painted cradles, boxes and ganjifa,
the traditional set of playing cards are painted with religious and