Sunday, April 18, 2010

Filigree magic in Bamboo

Bamboo is versatile; it is used to make furniture, walls of a house, lattice-work screens to keep out the heat of the day, drinking cups, tea strainers etc. Bamboo in all its recreated glory is however to be found only in the North-East regions like Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram and Assam. It is an intrinsic part of the lives of people of these States.
More than 130 species of bamboo are found in India and most of them are grown in Manipur. And this State is considered as one of the largest producer of bamboo products after Tripura in the entire North East. Cane and bamboo craft is widely spread throughout the State. This raw material is considered to be God for these tribal artisans for it is through the manifold uses of bamboo that they earn their livelihood. The innate artistic flair of these people is seen not only in their brightly coloured shawls but also in the products created by splitting bamboo as finely as filigree.
The North East Crafts Bazaar is showcasing the talents of these extraordinary people at Bharat Scouts and Guides Grounds, Opp. DC Office, which will conclude today at 9 pm.

Speaking to SOM, Chanchelini Sharma from Manipur who is exhibiting Kouna craft, said, "Kouna is a species of water reed (firm-stemmed water or marsh plant especially of genus Phragmites). The plants grow wild in the marshy land, ponds, canals, along the river and lake beaches. From time immemorial, these stalks, locally called Kouna, after drying are being used in making mats/mattresses by the people living mostly in the valleys of the Manipur State."

"I create Kouna mats, chairs, cushion, coasters, bags etc. of different shapes and sizes with different designs which can be used for domestic and ritualistic. Now-a-days, this craft has more demand in the market and to reach the target we plant this in the marshy paddy fields, canals, along the submerged river and lake shores”, says Sharma who had done her graduation and has a keen interest in sharing this art.
Apart from Kouna items, bamboo made baskets, mats, fishing traps/tools, furniture, walk-ing stick, trays, decorative pieces like table lamp, wall hanging, ash tray, flower pot, flower and other products, flute, suitcases etc. are created by them.
These items are in different forms/designs according to the varying customs of different tribes of the State.

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