Handicrafts of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka have a large verity of traditional handy crafts and tradition of making handicraft is as old as it’s nation. according to Mahavansa (The great chronicle) when the prince Vijaya from India landed in Sri Lanka in the 6th century BC he met Kuveni spinning cotton. Our ancient kings looked after the craftsmen and encouraged them and it was the main reason for it's development. 

Mask is an ornamental facial decorative wear used in entertainment and dancing. Early man used masks in rituals, Dramas, Cureing of sickness. It is believed that mask provide curative benefits for physiological problems.
Use of mask in Sri Lanka as old as Sinhala nation and there are three main verities and used the wood call “Diya Kanduru” ( nux vomica  or  Blazar) .Reason for using  Diya Kanduru is for it’s lightness,Durability,no cracking,no insect attacking  and easy to carve.

 1) Sanni mask
Sanni means sickness and there are 18 sicknesses hence there are 18 sanni masks.

 2) Kolam mask
Kolam mask used more in dramas and commonly seen Southern part of Sri Lanka.
“Aatha Kolama, Arachchi Kolama, Police Kolama, Jasaya and Lenchina are some of them.

 3) Raksha mask 
Used in many functions and features comes as  Gurula Mask (Gurula is a mythical bird), Cobra mask, Peacock mask…etc.




Dumbara mats 
A unique Sri Lankan handicraft in the form of a wall hanging mainly produced in a village call Henawala in the dumbara valley of Kandy. Hense the name given and woven by a class of people call Kinnara. They extract fiber of a plant somewhat similar to Jute and weave it in a primitive horizontal loom.

The village call Pallehapuwita of Matale District is famous for Lac work.Lac is a form of vax obtained from a species of insect in the past.these vax mixed with colors and applied it on wooden objects with the help of a hand driven lathe.nowadays imported wax called shallack is used instead of Lac obtained from insects and produce Powder bowls,vases,Walking sticks,Jewelery boxes …etc.


One of the oldest crafts in Sri Lanka and belong to a particular social group still 75% of Sri Lankan' s use clay pots and fans for cooking. apart from pots and fans they also make terracotta figures, Carved vases …etc. The best of these product could be seen or bought at Molagoda off Kegalle on the Kandy road.

Ebony Elephants:
The hard kernel of the wood is black I colour, has become the basic of fine handy crafts. for centuries Galle district has been famous for these crafts. The expert craftsmen can turn a log of wood to a figure of an elephant almost looking alive with the help of a chisel and mallet only.

Introduced by Portuguese and now has become an indigenous craft .this is also called pillow lace because of a pillow like bed used to make Lace.It`s ladies who are engaged in lace working and confined to more or less to Galle and Matara District.

The tender leaves of Indikola or wild date palm is boiled and used to produced coin purses, summerhats ..etc.

Leaves of Talipot palm is used to produces Ola books, Mats, Market bags, hand bags…etc.


"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 art.

The 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 crafts.

Sri lankan Produced Excellent Costume Jewellery. 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. Kandy is Famous for filigree Jewellery also you get them at Minuwangoda close to Colombo




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