Bamboo and cane are used for making many items in Tripura, such as furniture, pencil holders, lamp shades, trays, stools, baskets, vases, hand fans, decorations fans, window and door screens, shopping bags, purses, hats, tablemats, mugs, and many other articles. The people of Tripura are skilled in making exclusive crafts out of bamboo and cane as different part of the state masters in creating different crafts out of bamboo and cane. Weaving the 'kula', vegetable baskets and 'dala' are created by the folkmen of western Tripura. The items are made in such a way that they are last for a long time and the particular weaving of the Tripura craftsmen makes them tuff and strong. The artisans give evenness to cane and bamboo by splitting them vertically into very fine uniform strips and then cut to the preferred length by using simple tools.
The bamboo and cane crafts of Tripura are famous for the rare artistic skill of elegant baskets, small-framed mirrors, hair clips, powder cases, decorative trays and decorations are made. 'Dulla' is a commonly used fish basket while 'Pathee' is a rain shield. Small woven animals, 'moorahs' which is a low stool made of bamboo and split cane, cane ornaments, mats, bags, fruit-baskets, basketry, vases and many other items are made from bamboo and cane in Tripura. The designs are intricate and exquisite that catches the fancy.
The State Government has set up The Craft Teacher's Institute (CTTI) which has done commendable work in this field of bamboo and cane crafts of Tripura. The State Department of Industries runs a Design Extension Centre at Agartala and the All India Handicrafts Board had established a Bamboo and Cane Development Institute, which has taken up research in the chemical treatment of bamboo. The institute also provides an advanced course of training in bamboo work, seasoning, preservation and craft design. A private registered society and several other units have taken up the production of popular handicraft items in the capital of Tripura with the specialisation in bamboo screens, lamp stands and table-mats. Bamboo and cane craft of Tripura includes creating structures of houses, granaries, shops, workspaces or even large warehouses.
The bamboo and cane craft of Tripura is famous for creating bamboo screens made from split bamboo. They are so finely woven and delicately appliquéd with coloured bamboo chips that they look almost like ivory. Bamboo matting is a booming industry in Tripura. An array of products such as fans, lampshades, handbags and various decorative items are made from converting bamboo matting. The simplest item that is made out of bamboo mat is a wall-hanging with a picture painted on it in oil colours. Bamboo splints stiffen the ends of the hanging. Another decorative product made from waste strips of matting are flower sticks. Bamboo table-mats are other most popular products. Some sets of mats have decorative oil paintings that are executed by the local artists.
Bamboo and cane craft of Tripura include tea cozy and tray. Other items such as semi-circular and circular fans, beautifully designed lampshades, handbags of various shapes and sizes etc are also made from bamboo matting. These generally have stiff sides with rigid construction. In addition to products made from woven bamboo mats, several other products are made in Tripura which include turned bamboo vases and lamp stands, carved and shaped containers such as mugs and pencil holders as well as a host other novelty fabricated from shaped bamboo splints.
Bamboo and cane craft of Tripura puts emphasis on fabricating decorative products meant for sale in upcountry markets through various handicrafts emporia. The exclusive craft has developed and flourished by achieving governmental support and education provided to the artisans on the pros and cons about the bamboo and cane craft and hence increased its demand in the entire market scenario.
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