Making use of the abundant coconut available in the
state, the Keralites have made coconut shell carving
a popular craft. The artisans have to be quite skilled
since the coconut shell is rather hard. Flower vases,
snuff boxes, nut bowls, spoons and sugar basins are
some common end products.
Coir making and then converting it into different products
is a major cottage industry in Kerala. Doormats, carpets,
floor rugs, crush proof pile carpets are some of the
products made from coir. They are made in different
colours and designs. Rubberised coir is another product.
Here, coir and latex are blended to make mattresses
and cushions. Kerala's coir products are exported to
several countries. Alleppey, Kollam and Calicut are
the biggest producers of coir products.
This is an ancient craft perfected by artisans mostly
belonging to the Viswakarma community. Thiruvananthapuram
is the centre of this art. Flowers, birds, combs, lamps
etc are the usual products carved out of horn.
Wood Craft :-
The end products of this intricate craft are figures
of dancing ladies, peacocks, Kathakali heads, key stands,
butterflies etc. Rosewood and White wood pieces are
cut and shaped into the desired design, pasted on a
plywood base and polished. Brass pieces are then fixed
to make the final product
Bell metal, an alloy of brass, tin and copper, is one
of the materials used in this craft. This is also an
ancient art. Temple bells, lamps, different types of
cooking vessels such as the majestic "varpu",
tumblers for drinking etc. are some products made from
bell metal. Bell metal work is done mainly in Thiruvananthapuram,
Irinjalakuda and Kasargod. Another
well known art in Kerala is the production of religious
icons. An eye-catching icon is the "Gaja Tandava"or
"Gajasamhara" which depicts the "Tandava"
dance. Here Shiva is seen crushing the evil demon, which
is in the form of an elephant.
Screw Pine Products:-
Another ancient craft in this long list is screw pine
mat weaving. This is practised mainly in certain villages
of Kollam, Alappuzha, and Kottayam districts. Screw
pine leaves are woven into mats, hand embroidered, and
made into household linen, straw hats, and bags.
Kerala is famous for its wood carving. The best places
to see the impressive wood carving styles are temples,
palaces, and ancient houses. A very intricate art, wood
carving requires a high degree of craftsmanship. Rosewood,
Sandalwood, Cedar and Teak are the usual varieties of
wood used in this craft. Life size mythological and
religious figures stylised with gestures and postures
are frequently carved out of wood. Intricately
carved elephants, paperweights, lampshades, decorative
furniture and jewellery boxes are the more common products
these days. Kerala's Sandalwood and Rosewood carvings
are distinctly different from those produced in other