Traditional crafts of Kerala

Coconut Shell Craft

Owing to the abundance of coconuts in Kerala, coconut shell craft is very popular and in demand in the state of Kerala. Calicut district is the primary hub for coconut shell craft. The most common products from coconut shell are flower vases, snuff boxes, cups, nut boxes, sugar basins and spoons. Brass embedded coconut shell products are also gaining in popularity.  

Coir Products

Again, owing to the abundance of coconut in the state, Coir crafts are very popular in the state of Kerala. After separating the husks from the nuts, the same are retted in the lagoons for a period of almost ten months. After the separation of the fibre, the same is processed in the Ratts or the spinning wheels, to weave it into yarns. Allepey, Calicut and Kollam are the major hubs for the production of coir products. A huge volume of the coir products are exported. In the recent past Rubberised Coir i.e. coir blended with latex, is gaining popularity in both the domestic as well as international markets.

Woodcarving

Kerala has a very rich tradition in the art of wood carving and the palaces and temple are some of the finest specimens in the country. The Kerala style of carving on the sandalwood and rosewood is quite distinct from the rest of the country. Carvings are usually made upon sandalwood, rosewood, cedar and teak. The most popular products are lamp stands, paper weights, jewellery boxes, life sized animal figures etc.  

Metal Inlaid Wood Craft

In this particular type of craft, wood pieces are cut into sizes and shapes as per requirement and then pasted onto the plywood base. The brass metal pieces are the fixed onto the design, as per requirement. Rosewood and Whitewood are the most popular varieties of wood chosen for the craft. The most popular finished products are candle stand, star wheel, dancing lady, key stand, peacocks and Kathakali heads.

Screw Pine Products

Considered as one of the most important cottage industries of Kerala, Screw Pine weaving is an ancient craft. Three different types of mats are woven with the screw pine leaves and the main centres are Mavelikkara and Karthikapalli Taluks of Alappuzha dist., Thazava, Karunagapalli Taluk of Kollam district, Vachrai and some villages of Kottayam and Thiruvananthapuram districts. The most popular products are straw hats, household linen and carry bags.  

Horn Carving

This is an ancient craft and is practiced by the artisans of the Vishwakarma community of Thiruvananthapuram. The most popular products are lamps, cigarette cases, combs, flower sets, etc.  

Bamboo Mat Paintings

Considered as one of the most popular crafts of Kerala, Bamboo mat painting requires a superior degree of concentration and skill. The most popular contents of the painting are animals, religious figures, sceneries, birds, etc. The finished products look extremely beautiful, when bamboo reed frames are attached at the top and the bottom.    

Metalwork

The Metal work craft of Kerala is a traditional art form and has been in existence from a very early period. Temple bells and lamps have been in production from a very early period. Bell Metal i.e. an alloy of brass, tin and copper, is generally used for a majority of the metal works. Trivandrum, Kasargod and Irinjalakuda are the major hubs for the Bell Metal crafts. The most popular products made from Bell Metal are cooking vessels such as Varpu, drinking tumblers, religious icons such as Gaja Tandava etc. The metal mirror, made from an alloy of copper and tin in the Aramula village, is very popular and its reflection quality resembles a glass mirror.

Other crafts

The other popular crafts of the state of Kerala are as follows:

  • Papier-Mache masks
  • Banana plant fibre
  • Cora grass
  • Rice Straw
  • Black Silk etc.

Pictures

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