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Leaf, Willow and Sisal Fibre of Jammu and Kashmir

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Leaf, Willow and Sisal Fibre of Jammu and Kashmir

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Commonly known as wicker willow, Jammu and Kashmir enjoys a monopolised market for wicker work. Straws, grass and leaf are used to make domestic containers that are used to store the agricultural produce. The wicker is produced profusely in the entire region and hence becomes one of the main industries. Kangri, is the main product, a wicker basket which is used to carry clay pots that contain smouldering coals. The basket is slipped under the pheran worn by men and women. Shaksaz, the local names for kangri makers live in the Charar-e-Sharif. They make the kangris for festive occasion where the Kashmiri pundit uses them especially during Shushur Sankrant. An ornamented kangri containing some money is given to a new bride of each family on this auspicious day. On some festive occasions Hindu families gift the kangris to the priests as homage to their ancestors.

The willow is retted until the outer skin comes out. The exposed inner skin is used for basketry. The inner skin is cut into strips of about 5 mm width and woven into basket. The upper half of the kangri is designed in multiple coloured strips in varied directional weaves. The basket can be further embellished with shiny coloured foil, mirrors and metal pieces.

The other products of wicker work include baskets, boxes, lampshades, curtain rings, trays and cycle baskets. Main production clusters of the region are Anantnag, Badgam and Srinagar district.

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