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Bamboo Basketry of Chattisgarh

Cane, Bamboo

Bamboo Basketry of Chattisgarh

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Basketry is a widely practiced tribal craft in Chhattisgarh. The different types and sizes of baskets cater to various needs such as the carrying of forest produce and seeds and for the storage of grains. They also have baskets for carrying fish and birds and to keep fowl and eggs The Baigas of Mandla make 50 different types of baskets, including a marriage basket. The Bansods of Chhattisgarh makes more than 200 bamboo articles, including a large variety of baskets. In Bastar, the tribes make various types of beautiful baskets. Dhurwas, Dandami Marias, Bhaturas, and Murias are the most skilled in basketry. The Kamar tribe of Raipur is skilled at making baskets and other items like fish traps, mats, mouse traps and bird traps from bamboo. In the district of Bastar 30 types of fish baskets known as dooty are used. The other basketry items include grain bins and baskets for keeping money and land records, as well as baskets for filtering mahua or homemade liquor.

Bamboo basketry is widely practiced across the state especially during harvest season when the otherwise expensive bamboo is easily available. All forms of bamboo – whole, split, slit and woven- are found in plenty. The center of the basket is started with the weaving of wider stripes leading to thinner stripes surrounding it. This is carried out in detail. A mat is specially woven to fit it inside the baskets in order to stop the falling of grains.

Bamboo is an important material for the tribes and it is used for constructing houses as well as for making bows and arrows, handles for agricultural implements, fish and bird traps, and a variety of baskets. Initially, baskets, winnowing fans and mats were made out of leaves but they were very fragile. Later on, the leaves were substituted with bamboo which is much sturdier. Bamboo baskets are light, handy, cheap, sturdy, and durable.

The Bansors or basketeers are considered to be a sub-caste of the Birchors who slice bamboos into rikas or fine splits and worship the deity Dasha. Their baskets have a square base and a circular top. The weave is the interlocking of warp and weft in a loose, checkerboard pattern. The baskets are used for carrying mahua flowers and are aptly called phooldatia. Animal and human figures resembling Neolithic paintings add to the appeal of the baskets.

The women and children basketeers of Chhattisgarh make over 200 bamboo articles. The simple semi-circular basket made by them is called datia and is used to carry forest produce to marketplaces and seeds to the fields. Basketry is a craft practiced by entire families. Tangia /big axe, ghoda /device for making split, churi /small knife and a sickle are used to create the bamboo baskets.

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