Crafts of Andaman and Nicobar Islands are as follows:
Some of the exquisite crafts mde from natural raw materials in this archipelago are:
Cane and Bamboo
Bamboo is obtainable in plenty. Cane, too, is present in huge quantities but not for eternity easily available. Pandumas or Mellery, locally known as "Kevadi" grows to a big size and has long leaves. The islands also have a large number of coconut trees. The other natural resource is the sea wealth of the islands, which includes shells, coral, sea weeds and driftwood. The main types of shells existing are Turbos, Trancs, and Tortoise.
Cane and Bamboo Work is carried on by settlers from Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. They are able to make a variety of items according to designs provided. Left to themselves, they usually copy designs from old catalogues. Beautiful hole cane baskets made out of slim cane twigs that are not crack, are used by women for carrying market produce and for storage. A cheaper type is used by laborers engaged in building work. This is mostly furniture made to order. The total number of artists engaged in cane and bamboo work in the Andaman is probable at about 50.
Carpentry is local to the Andamans, and the Administration also provides training in this line. Some units are engaged in making furniture and other articles out of ornamental woods such as Paduak, marble wood, Chui, etc. Tabletops made of Paduak burr are a novel item produced. A production centre under the industries department and a workshop of the Government saw mill at Chatham are the two large units responsible for the bulk of the produce. There is huge scope for development in the furniture industry of the Andamans, particularly with regards to construction, design and finish.
Shell craft is one of the most well-liked handicrafts of Andaman Islands. The shell crafts comprise ashtrays, lamps, buttons and jewelry made from the polished, attractive shells. The tortoise shell is the exciting resource substance accessible. These shells are large and available in beautiful shades. The articles like table lamps, small round and square boxes and some decorative items made from the tortoise shells are accessible. The items are mainly used for decorative purpose.
Not long ago, the local industries department at Port Blair initiated training in making articles out of coconut shells. The items, which contain table lamps, finger bowls and other objects, have become quite popular. Jewellery made of coconut shell is another possibility, which may find a sell overseas market. As coconut trees are available in large records, they are the best natural resources for handicrafts of Andaman & Nicobar.
Basketry and Mat Making
There are two important conventional crafts of the Nicobar, typically carried on by women in their free time. Mats are made from coconut stems and Pandanus leaves. They are used for sitting, sleeping and making huts. In the mats, very frequently light and dark leaves are interwoven to make an effectual pattern. These mats are soft light, and cool, and have a glossy surface.
Another useful craft is the making of crossbows which consist of a central beam of wood with grooves and iron loops to hold arrows and quiver, and a bow shaped arc made of thinner and lighter wood, its ends joined with a string. A trigger made of wood or bone is fixed to the lower part of the beam. The cross however, is used with one hand and can shoot up to 150 yards. Its novel design and trigger system make it a prized handicraft article for tourists.
The climatic condition of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is best suited for tropical rain forests. The rain forests of Andaman and Nicobar Islands make it rich in timber. In recent years, it has considerably contributed to Andaman and Nicobar Islands Handicrafts.
The huge fame of the arts and crafts of Andaman and Nicobar Islands resulted in the use of the natural resources as this art brought a new wave in the export business and many people started attractive themselves in this unit. Small scale handicraft units in dissimilar corners of this land have grew up who were actively oriented in making shell and wooden craft items.
Present Scenario of Crafts of Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Andaman and Nicobar Islands handicrafts industry is mainly dependent upon its shell crafts. The shell crafted items of Andaman and Nicobar Islands handicraft industry enjoy high demand worldwide. The large quantity of small and big shells in the coastal areas has tempted the coastal people to indulge themselves in the practice of shell crafting. Thus Andaman and Nicobar Islands handicraft industry is a chief economic recourse for the local people.
Although due to the fear of absolute exploitation of these natural recourses the government has banned some of the export business related with this craft.