07 Arts and Crafts in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has an abundance of traditional arts and crafts. These goods are manufactured using age-old techniques, tools and natural indigenous materials either by dedicated crafts men in their abode or occasionally at rural craft centres considered cottage industries.
Local art forms range from ancient paintings to traditional crafts to dance and music, all stemming form a rich cultural heritage. Even though simplistic, the presentations are surely exotic and worth collecting as souvenirs of a trip to be remembered.
A marked degree of regional specialization exists, based on the availability of raw materials as well as other factors such as royal patronage in the past and demand for the product.
Arts and crafts covers a wide spectrum and include the following;
7.1 Brass work- wrought iron work which is mainly found in the kandyan Provinces (Central Province). Wrought brassware items ornamented with fine carving include boxes, trays, lamps a des, I amp - stands, hinges, vases, and oil - lamps.
7.2 Silverware - 'Elugoda,' in the Kandyan region is famous for manufacturing ornately carved and filigree jewellery, trinket boxes, tea sets, candle stands etc.
7.3 Reed, rush, bamboo & rattan ware- 'Weweldeniya,' the town which literally means ' city of reeds,' has these items in bulk and the little outlets on either side of the road are filled with mats, baskets and many more items including sofa sets. This town is situated on the kandy-Colombo main road.
7.4 Coir goods - Items made out of coconut fibre inclusive of mats and rugs.
7.5 Dumbara Mats - In the past mat weaving in the Dumbara Valley ( Kandy province) was considered a necessary craft to be practiced by every female villager. Today, mat weaving is still popular among villagers but it largely functions as a cottage indutry with few establishes sales outlets. Weavers generally market their mats at festivals, fairs and pilgrimage sites.
7.6 Lacquer ware - again a highly localised Kandyan craft.The 'lac' pigments are obtained from resins collected from forests. The boiled down lacquer is applied expertly by finger-nail or by revolving lathe.
7.7 Masks- Sri Lanka's folk dances and dramas are replete witha plethora of vibrant masks, Mainly available in the Southern Provinces and Kandy.
7.8 Batik Textiles - The wax resist dyeing technique of Indonesian origin, is available in destinctive Sri Lankan designs. Many outlets are available which cater to the many intersting forms of batik;