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Handlooms and Crafts of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an island nation that prides itself on a long and rich heritage of art and craft with skills passed down from generation to generation by craftspeople who yet manage to incorporate a modern twist to the traditional designs.

Created from natural indigenous raw materials, the island’s crafts show a high degree of specialisation from the materials used to the patterns used to make them. Many of the craftspeople are located pockets along the South and Central parts of Sri Lanka, in rural areas where the craft industry provides a valuable source of income for the people.

While Sri Lanka boasts many different forms of unique craft, a specialised craft of the South is the making of wooden masks which come in various sizes and colours and interestingly were formerly used for curative rituals and for demon propitiation.

Pottery, which too has a long history in the country, is produced in several variations of which low fired terra-cotta, goblets, tiles, vases and ornamentals are some of the popular options.
While batik is of Indonesian origin, Sri Lankan batik garments with its vibrant and striking fabrics are like none other in the world. A wide variety of traditional drums and musical items which have ceremonial uses even today are among the other interesting handicrafts.

A one-stop shop for all these items is Laksala, a line of government owned handicraft shops located island-wide.

Rapidly gaining popularity in recent times in Sri Lanka, handlooms in a range of dramatic colours and patterns are now in steady demand. Clothing, table linen, cushions, curtaining and upholstery fabrics in hand spun cotton fabric are created in the country’s rural villages. Renowned for their eye-catching designs, the store Barefoot located in Colombo and Galle is a popular choice for the purchase of handlooms.
 

 

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