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About┬áBasket Weaving – Sabai/Moonj Grass and Water Reed Basketry

Sabai/ Moonj grass is found in abundance in Orissa and UP and this natural fibre is used to make domestic products. The locals source this grass from nearby forests and paddy fields and initially made ropes out of the grass to tie bundles of the harvest they procured. Later the pulp-able quality of the grass got the attention of the paper industry. It is believed that traditionally the locals used the grass to make a variety of household products such as sofas, floor mats, coasters, wall hangings with the Konark wheel (in Orissa) as the central motif and much more. Considering that basket weaving in itself is a traditional practice of India, the locals started using the grass to weave traditional baskets that were used for the storage of rice, as dowry boxes and for a multitude of other storage purposes. The baskets are made by coiling a few strands of semi dried Sabai/ Moonj grass creating a radial pattern. This is then complimented with a lid and/ or a handle and finally the rim of the basket is closely tied with jute thread to ensure the structure is in place.

Other materials used in this practice of Basket Weaving also include Water Reed or what is popularly known as Kauna in Manipur. Widely spread across and available in abundance, the water reed is harvested thrice a year in Manipur and is known for its noise and heat insulation properties.These baskets come in an array of colours and sometimes covered in colourful waste plastic wrappers.

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