The bamboo and cane crafts of Bihar have a rich historical past that is amalgamated with the preferences of the modern urban people. As Bihar is affluent in the tradition of the powerful dynasties like Magadha Majanapadas, Mauryan Empire and Gupta Empire, the artisans had received encouragement from them. With the introduction of modern technologies, the bamboo and cane craft of Bihar has flourished. As the time precedes the tradition of the past and the style of the modern age have developed the cult of the bamboo and cane crafts of Bihar. This has also led to improvements in the products at a high grade with subtle changes.
Bamboo crafts in India are very popular due to its eco-friendly attributes.
The bamboo and cane crafts of Bihar have unique features that carry intrinsic beauties and great creativeness offered by the local artisans. Initiated in the prehistoric age, the bamboo and cane crafts of Bihar comprise utility items like baskets, household wares, woven mats, furniture and cane products like cane furniture and other decorative objects. The majority of artisans are the tribal people of Bihar who etch out the lifeless bamboos and canes with dexterity and turn them into exquisite art pieces that are of great value.
The abundant accessibility of bamboo and cane in the areas of Tarai and Bhabhar has aided the bamboo and cane craft of Bihar to reach its zenith. The oldest form of creation of bamboo and cane crafts of Bihar is basketry that is used to serve the purpose of the utilitarian items as well as suit other needs. The artisans of Bihar make deft synthesis of Japanese techniques with the Indian tradition and given rise to a complete unique crafts of bamboo and cane.
The Bhotiyas are the tribal from the Trans-Himalayan region that are skilled bamboo and cane artistry. A vast variety of baskets, cups, saucers created by them for local consumption has now found an export market and considering the financial assurance from these crafts the non-tribals are now taking up basket making as their profession too. The designs of these bamboo and cane crafts vary from simple plain weaving or ribbing and sometimes painting the bamboo-strips or cane reed in vivid colors.
The artisans while creating items from bamboo and cane keep in mind about their longevity that follows the style as well. They sometimes use bamboo stems or culms with smaller diameters along with cane in whole or split form for creating a variety of baskets, furniture, mats, etc. Large containers are made and these are used widely for storing grain among the local people of Bihar. Apart from these bamboo and cane crafts, Bihar is adored for its creativity in making furniture out of bamboo and cane, woven mats for floors, etc.
The availability of raw materials, suitable weather, numerous artisans and land for bamboo agriculture have fastened the growth of the bamboo and cane crafts of Bihar.
Bill-hook, knife and a jak (v-shaped wooden frame) are the essential tools required for bamboo craft. Saws, hammers, pliers, and pincers in addition to daos and knives are used for making bamboo and cane furniture.
Courtesy: UMSAS Patna
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