Mats

 

 

Mat weaving is one of the earliest known craft known and practiced by man. This craft is immensely popular in India and has different manifestations throughout the country. A variety of natural material like grass, jute, coir and bamboo is used in making mats.

The craft of mat weaving is generally prevalent in the tribal communities of our country. As production of mats can be done without much technical efforts and use of special tools it also common amongst the poor sections of the society. The simplicity of the tribal communities and their creativity can be seen in the variety of mats they weave. Mats are not only used for utilitarian purposes, but small mats can also be used to decorate walls.

Mat weaving is mainly practiced in West Bengal, Pondicherry, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Northeastern states.

West Bengal is known for its variety of woven mats. 'Sitalpatti' (or cool mat) are made from green cane slips. This mat is ideal for summers. 'Maslond', another popular mat
is produced in Midnapur district of West Bengal. Mats from Bengal are decorated with traditional motifs, which are inspired by religious symbols and natural themes.

 

Palamau district in Bihar is the home of the tapper mats. Tapper is similar to jute, which is obtained from the sun hemp plant. After extracting the fiber from the plant, mats are woven.

Mat weaving is also an important handicraft of Pondicherry. Mats embellished with horizontal and vertical lines and floral patterns are common here.

In Orissa mats are woven from a special grass known as the golden grass, while in Bihar it is made out of locally available 'sikki' grass. The mats from these regions cater to needs of the locals and depict the tribal and folk motifs.

Tamil Nadu is famed for its kora dry-grass mats. Mat weavers from here not only create intricate patterns and designs, but mats are multicolored and often represent the ornate pallav of traditional silk sari from Tamil Nadu.

Extremely delicate, and indeed the most aristocratic of mats in the world, are made in Kerala. Kerala is also known for coir mats.

Assam, Mizoram, Tripura and other northeastern states excel in mat weaving. Mats made out of bamboo and cane is produced in these states, catering to the socio-economic needs of the people.

Tripura is renowned for its mats. There is a variety of rolled mats having multicoloured designs and geometric patterns.


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