Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bamboo Craft

The bamboo craft is associated with cane and bamboo, and had been a part of Indian crafts giving rise to the expression of tribal art and provided them livelihood. As India is blessed with deft artistry, these types of craft developed in this country very soon and with the changing of style and trend, the craft has developed its designs and deftly blended tradition with fashion. Bamboo is abundantly used in India to create rare craft items. Bamboo is useful and is a tough raw material to be used in making durable items like bed etc so it has also been named as Green Steel. Some of the well known bamboo and cane crafts are Baskets, Chalani, dolls, toys etc which are made in different sizes and fine designs. One the most interesting and colourful item of bamboo is leaf-headgear for tea garden workers and farmers. Umbrella handles made of bamboo are a speciality of the northeast. A number of designs like leaves, plants and creepers are etched on them. A variety of furniture items are made to suit the modern homes. Apart from all these, bamboo mats are extensively used for construction of temporary walls and sheds, big pandals, roofing of country boats, dwelling houses etc.

India is the second largest bamboo producing country in the world and has over 13 lakh bamboo artisans. However, do we know that many of them are unable to earn enough to lead a decent life due to dwindling rural markets, artisans inability to meet urban market requirements because of their non-exposure to new trends and lack of proper marketing channels. Lack of quality education, however, is only one of the many problems that plague the rural craftsmen. Even procuring bamboo the raw material for their products is a big hassle for many.

The Indian artisans are dexterous in creating bamboo crafts and arrays of bamboo items are famous in Indian as well as in abroad. Basically the artisans create variations in their creations. The craftsmen create different items with the help of different bamboos and canes that are locally known as sundi , barjali , harua , golla etc are required for making furniture and baskets. It is observed that generally three species of cane are exploited in commercial quantities- Jati Calamus tenuis , Tita Calamus leptesadix and Lejai Calamus floribundus . Some less important qualities like Sundi Calamus garuba and Raidang Calamus flagellum are also extracted for creating superb designs.

Generally the products of bamboo are of two types, namely articles required for day to day use and of medium quality, that are more suited to local requirements and another type is articles of finer quality, both decorative and functional, to meet the requirements and tastes of more sophisticated markets. Items like baskets, Chalani, Crossbows, Kula, Khorahi , Dukula or Tukuri, Dala , Duli or Tali , Doon or Kathi, Bamboo Mats etc. some of the Indian states are famous for creating beautiful bamboo items like mugs for rice beer, hukkas, musical instruments, floor mats, fishing devices and handles. In this respect, the name of Assam, Tripura and West Bengal can be mentioned. This traditional craft has received great success in making winnowing baskets, special Pitaras, oval boxes, oblong caskets, and flower baskets. 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.
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