Handicrafts of Sri Lanka





Sri Lanka have a large verity of traditional handy crafts. Sri Lanka is known world over for her handicrafts. These products are manufactured by applying age-old techniques that have been handed down from generation to generation.
These artifacts are manufactured by using only the tools particular to them and from raw materials found abundant in nature.

Sri Lanka has a varied heritage for of traditional crafts and arts. These products are a result of age – old techniques, indigenous raw materials and tools of natural Handicrafts are fashioned in rural Craft Centers. It was with in these Castes that traditional skills were preserved with a high degree of distinct ethnic identity,
Sri Lanka handy crafts men have been able to success fully combines certain raw material in to modern Crafts. Sri Lanka is well renowned to produce exquisite handicrafts.


Woodcarving is one of the oldest crafts still practised in Sri Lanka. Artisans of old had a preference for low-relief woodcarving, which lent itself to decorative wooden panels, boxes, and tables. Today, many decorative panels are still carved using traditional designs. In the handicrafts industry masks and wood carvings have remained as prestigious items reflecting not only traditional craft skills but the theatrical and cultural values of a past age.

Mat weaving

Mat weaving used to be practiced by every female villager because the craft was considered a necessary domestic accomplishment. Mats, after all, were essential items, used as both floor coverings and beds. Today, mat weaving is still popular among villagers but it is a cottage industry with few established sales outlets. Instead, weavers generally peddle their mats at festivals, fairs, and pilgrimage sites. Visitors may see them during the Kandy perahera in July, when the pavements of the city are colourfully lined with rolled up mats for sale. The mats of the highest quality with the best designs are made in the villages of the Dumbara valley in the Kandy district. These mats are traditionally woven on a simple loom using fibres from the bowstring hemp, mostly of white or black colouration. Often they are decorated with stripes or bands, or animal or floral motifs


Sri Lanka has a long tradition in metals such as gold, silver, brass, tin, lead and iron, as well as their various alloys, in all sorts of work, from ornamental casting and pierced designs, to damascene- and filigree-work. Brass is the most common ornamental metal used outside of jewellery, and therefore the one most likely to be encountered and purchased by visitors. The alloy used in Sri Lanka is excellent for both castwork and cutwork. Castings in brass are usually created by the “lost wax” method, in which the model is sculpted in wax, covered with clay, and baked so that the wax melts and a mould is formed. Cutwork, on the other hand, involves cutting the pattern onto a flat sheet of metal and then embellishing the work by engraving, hatching, or repousse to produce items such as trays and plaques. Repousse is the most characteristic type of Sri Lankan metalwork, used on brass, copper, silver, or all three together to create a variety of traditional designs.


 Lacquerwork involves the intricate decoration of wooden objects such as bowls and ashtrays with a resin secreted from the bark of certain trees that have been infested with the lac beetle. The resin, also called lac, is scraped from the bark, melted down and strained. While the lac is soft, pigment is beaten in to produce the desired colour. Then it is left to dry. Two different techniques are used to apply lac. One method, called beralu veda or spool-work, involves putting the object to be decorated on a lathe, spinning it, and applying a hardened stick of lac to it at an angle, rather like a woodcarving tool. The resulting friction melts the lac, which seeps into the grain yet gives a glossy coating.The other technique involves drawing heated and softened lac into a fine thread and laying it in a pattern. This method is called niyapothu veda or nailwork, since the thumbnail is used to fashion the thread of lac. Today, lacquerwork is also produced by the inferior method of painting the object and covering it with layers of varnish. Visitors who wish to witness this craft should travel to the villages of Angalmaduwa near Tangalle, which is famous for beralu veda, and Palle Hapuvida near Matale, which is renowned for niyapothu veda. Laquerwork image


Lacemaking is not an indigenous art. Dutch ladies probably introduced it during Dutch colonial times, particularly in the Galle area. Sinhalese ladies caught on, and lacemaking soon became an established local craft. During the 19th century, when Galle was at its zenith as a port, it became popular with passengers. Today, many older village women in the Galle area still spend their spare time making pillow lace and crochet lace, but when that generation passes the craft may die.

Handloom textiles

Although hand woven materials have lost their pre-eminence since the introduction of machine-made textiles, the craft of weaving high quality handloom textiles has experienced a remarkable resurgence in Sri Lanka over the past half century.


Sri Lankan Produced Excellent Costume Jeweler. In Jewellery there Are two traditions (branches) namely Galle. Traditional and the Kandyan Tradition. The Galle Low Country Traditional also called Western Traditional. The Stones are more conspicuous than the metal in the Law Country Traditional. The metal is only binding the Stones. But in the traditional kandyan Jewellery it is the metal work that is found more. The European tourists prefer the law Country tradition. There is also a technique Called filigree Work. This filigree work is found in the Silver Jewellery. In this type of Jewellery you get grainy finish. These telescopic grains are made of hairy Silver wire and welded to the surface. This technique is very difficult and finds therefore, it is Expensive.


Pottery, like mat weaving, is a craft essential to village life in Sri Lanka. Robert Knox observed in An Historical Relation of Ceylon (1681) that the Sinhalese are adept at crafting “all sorts of earthenware to boil, stew, fry and fetch water in.” Today, as then, the potter can invariably be found demonstrating his or her skills in the verandah. Most of the pottery is thrown on small wheels turned by the potter himself. The output consists largely of simple undecorated pieces, but there is an increased demand for decorated pottery. Such decoration is usually done by incising patterns or stamping with a wooden die while the clay is still wet. Sometimes a glaze is painted prior to firing, which is done in a traditional kiln built of brick or stone and covered with a vaulted wattle-and-daub roof.

The primarily utilitarian character of Sri Lankan pottery remains to this day. It lends charm to its elegance of form and simplicity of ornamentation. Items include small clay lamps, elegant water-jugs and practical cooking vessels. Figurines and delightful animals with distinctly Sinhalese characteristics are also made. These can be seen in abundance just outside Weligama.


Titik" or "Tik" means a bit or a drop in Indonesian language. The melted wax covers the area of the cloth that dose not get a particular colour. This is a tedious process, depending on the colour scheme the already prepared cloth has to go into the colour bath several times.

The patterns are generally drawn on the white cloth with the help of a template, but an Artist who is talented has the ability comes from china not only cotton but pure silk as well used in this from of artThe lime drawing is the initial step. Then waxing begins and depending on the pattern and the zise of the Artwork several waxing and boiling sessions take place between the dyeing session.
The "Tie & Dye" method was popular sometime ago with this method the drawing is not necessary but there is only a uniform round patterns with multi colours available.

Cloth should be washed Thoroughly to remove the starch. To was the cloth should be pined to a Frame.A drawing pen with a heap with molten wax is used to trace the pattern with wax and all areas that do not take the first dye is waxed. The Temperature of wax 17° c. When wax is cooled the cloth is submerged in a Bowl of cold water and then placed in the dye bath added with soda & salt, for 30-60 minutes. Then the cloth is removed and paged to drip. Then to remove wax the cloth should be boiled in a container for 5 minutes with detergents. Then the cloth is Rinsed and dried. This is the process for each colour until the Final design is completed.


As the cane is naturally grown in SriLanka cane work is in practice since ancient times.Radawadunna near pasyala on kandy road is famous for these craft



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