History of
Indian Crafts
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Indian Crafts >> Basket
Basket
Indian Crafts - Basket
History of Basket

Art of matting and basket making is prevalent in India since ancient times. The basket makers and the mat weavers were among the lowest caste groups in the social hierarchy. The bamboo workers are said to have descended from the Nishada King Vena from whom these workers have descended. However in the villages of eastern Uttar Pradesh this craft is practised by the women folk as the household craft for gifting presentations on the auspicious occasions. The grass is generally grown by the river banks, on the ridges or fields to protect the crop from wild animals.

Basketry and mat weaving is one of the very oldest of man creations done by joining grass and interlacing leaves, with the minimum of tools. The grass mats was used when sitting down on prayer, meditate or for worship. It was obviously considered clean for religious purposes.

Basketry and mat weaving is obviously one of the very oldest of mans creations done by joining grass with grass and interlacing leaves, with the minimum of tools. The mat is used when sitting down to pray, meditate or offer worship. It is considered clean for religious purposes.

Basketry and mat weaving is obviously one of the very oldest of mans creations done by joining grass with grass and interlacing leaves, with the minimum of tools.

Basketry is one of the oldest of man creation done by joining grass with grass, with the minimum of tools. The grass mat is used when sitting down to prays, meditate or offer worship. It is considered clean for religious purposes. In Nagaland, the women weave while men and boys make baskets.

Basketry and mat weaving is obviously one of the very oldest of man creations done by joining grass with grass and interlacing leaves, with the minimum of tools. The mat is used when sitting down to pray, meditate or offer worship. It is considered clean for religious purposes.
Fine Art
Basket weavers are the traditional occupational caste groups in centralUttar Pradesh. Basket weaving is not an occupation in the belt of eastern Uttar Pradesh, where women in their spare time weave differntvarieties of these baskets. These are used for carrying the presentations at the time of marriage and other occasions. These close woven baskets are impervious and the materials kept inside may not be visible. Generally coloured strands of the grass are used along with the natural coloursto create the geometrical patterns. Fabulous moorah (sitting stools) and other furniture items are made using sarkanda and hemp.

Hunting accessories such as the cylindrical trap or choria for catching fish in flowing waters, the kumni, used in stagnant water, bows and arrows and the gophan for shooting stones are usually made by the user himself. The jhanpi, a round dowry carpet, with a lid that comes halfway down the lower body, is used among the Gonds, Nageseas & Kamwars as on integral part of a girl wedding. The dheli, made from broad strip of bamboo, is used for storing grains, while the double layered dailia is used for storing wheat flour. The beejboni is carried to the fields for sowing seeds, while the phuldalia is used for collecting the sweet - scented mahua flowers.

There is perfectly gorgeous square bamboo box made in Kerala, a beautiful study in black and white. The central part is black with a big white design where the lid comes to rest. There are white twill worked bands round the bottom rim and white chains covering the entire lid on a black ground, and a design in black and white in the middle of the lid. It is known as mulapatty and is also meant for keeping valuable clothes.

Manapad in Tirunelveli is famous for its trays. The fruit trays are allocated for different fruits each with a particular design and marked as pineapple fruit tray, mango fruit tray, the design being akin to the fruit. Ramanathapuram is famous for its good looking sieves and windows, whole Daripatnam specialties in hand fans and square mats.

Conical carrying baskets, akhi and akha, are common and every house hold possesses several flat - bottomed big baskets for storing grain. They also have flattened cylindrical baskets in twill pattern into which rice beer is straine. Chakhesang and Angami Naga carrying baskets are special well known. Chang women uses the baskets to carry balls of thread while knitting, Konyak baskets are decorated with figures and hair. Apart from baskets, the Naga make mats, shields and different kinds of hats. They also make attractive Chungas or drinking cups, mugs made of bamboo. Necklets and armlets are also made of cane.

Basketry and mat making are two important traditional crafts of the Nicobarese, usually carried on by women in their leisure time. Mats are made from coconut stems and pandanus leaves. They are used for sitting, sleeping and making huts. In the mats, very often light and dark leaves are interwoven to make an effective pattern. These mats are soft, light, cool and have a glossy surface.
Procedure
For weaving a mat, moonj grass is used as weft. The stalks are dried in sun and splitted in various lengths depending on the size of the item to be made. At times, they are also coloured with natural/synthetic colours. The stalks are beaten by a wooden mallet, until they attain a fibrous form. Aloe fibre, is used as a warp, which is drawn through the dents of a reed, taken through a heddle, and its ends are tied on to the bamboo rollers. A wooden piece with a hole for the moonj grass to pass through acts as a shuttle. The weft is inserted in the shed by the shuttle, and is beaten to the aloe fibre. After completion of weaving the edges are trimmed and stitched with a twisted cord. For making the three-dimensional forms the weaving starts from the base. A small circle is formed holding bunch of grass, which is wrapped around, with another strand of the grass. As the weaving progresses the bunches are added to make the form simultaneously tapering, circular, square or rectangular. Sarkanda reeds are cut in various lengths and arranged in slanting fashion, while knotting with the hemp to make variety of furniture items. The seating platforms are knitted in geometric patterns with the hemp/plastic cord.

The whole stem of cane and bamboo is cut with a hacksaw and split longitudinally into various sizes by a billhook. Slicing is done longitudinally along the length of the densely - packed fibres and is, therefore, a fairly smooth operation, requiring only the requisite amount of moisture in the culm. A kerosene lamp is used to heat the cane before it can be bent into shape. The weaving process is done purely by hand, using water to soften the splits.

The matting is done in the twill variety. The work starts at one corner and the plaiting is done diagonally, for which a long strip of reed is folded at the middle and another inserted cross wise, whose ends are folded and another piece is inserted cross wise. The creases of the cross wise strips from the edges of the mat where articles for use with artistic touch are to be made, colours are introduced.

For basketry tender leaves are separated from the strips, and are joined together by winding over them running strip. This band is then furled like a ribbon and fastened by a thin strip of leaf connecting the successive layers at fixed intervals, yielding thereby a uniform and rhythmic pattern. A variety of artistic delicate basketry is a specialty here. They have a subdued air about them. Soft colour and refined texture endows them with a rare elegance and subtle taste.

Bamboo stems or culms with smaller diameter, along with cane, are used in whole or split form for a variety of baskets, mats etc. The hollow inter-nodes of bamboo make ideal mugs, drinking cups. The production of cane and bamboo articles involves the cutting of whole stems with a hack saw and slicing them into splits of various sizes using a bill-hook. Slicing is done longitudinally along the length of the densely packed fibre. A kerosene lamp is used to heat the cane before it can be bent into shape. The weaving process is done by hand, using water to soften the splits.

The matting is done in the twill variety. The work starts at one corner and the plaiting is done diagonally. A long strip of reed are folded at the middle and another inserted cross wire. The creases of the cross wire strips from the edges of the mat. Where articles for use with artistic touch are to be made, colours are introduced.
Resources
Basic Material : Moonj grass, aloe fibre.
Decorative Material : Fabric.
Colouring Material : Colours.

Basic Material : Bamboo, cane, reeds, grass, palm leaves
Decorative Material : Papers, shells
Colouring Material : Colours

Basic Material : Cane, bamboo, reed, colours.

Basic Material : Cane, Bamboo

Basic Material : Cane, Bamboo, papers, grass, colours, billhook, hacksaw, checker, twill, kerosene lamp.

Basic Material : Cane, bamboo, coconut stems, pandanus leaves.
Equipments
Hacksaw, mat loom, knife.

dao (bill-hook), hacksaw, kerosene lamp, mallet mat loom







Artifacts
Mats for covering floors, doormats, household articles- fruit trays, willow baskets, glass holders, shopping bags, vases, wall decoration etc. furnishing items

Baskets, hunting accessories, choria (for fish), kumni, bows and arrows, gophan (for shooting stones), jhampi (a round dowry casket), dheli (vessel for storing grain), beej boni (sowing seeds), daliya, phuldalia, winnowing trays, frames, bird cages, measuring bowls, pipes

baskets, mats, trays, furnitures, mooras, tiffin carriers,

basketry, trays, mats, fruit bowls, bags, chicks.

akhi and akha, baskets, mats, shields, hats, chungas or drinking cups, mugs, nicklets and armlets, konyak baskets.

baskets, mats, trays, and furnitures.

Indian Crafts : History of Basket