Sri Lankan Arts and Crafts have evolved as a result of the country’s long and varied history. Sri Lanka’s strategic location along the old Silk Road made it a crossroads for cultural and commerce interchange between the West and the East. The cultural, political, and trade fervour of this island has been demonstrated by India and China.
In many aspects, Sri Lankan arts are inspired by the country’s ancient and enduring Buddhist history, which has absorbed and incorporated various regional and local traditions through thousands of years to become a distinct kind of Sri Lankan art. Unsurprisingly, most Sri Lankan arts are based on religious beliefs, manifested in various artistic genres such as painting, sculpture, and architecture.
Due to reasons such as invasions & trade relationships, Indian culture has had a significant influence on the arts and crafts in Sri Lanka.
Traditional Arts and Crafts in Sri Lanka
The traditional drums, known as Bera, are unquestionably a part of Sri Lankan culture. Only a select few communities in Sri Lanka, including Hikkaduwa, Kurunegala and Hodiyadeniya in the Kandy district, have the specific expertise and craftsmanship required to make these drums.
The drum’s body is primarily made of a Jack tree, while the skin is made of animal hide. The attentive and detail-oriented drum makers present wonderfully shaped and constructed drums with the proper sound after several hours of split effort within each group.
Pottery is one of the oldest lines of craftwork in Sri Lanka, It’s still popular in this modern day of steel and plastic. Clay pottery mainly consists of a spinning wheel with soft clay placed on top, ready to be moulded into the required shape. Then follow-up steps such as keeping the shaped pot in a brick oven to solidify the figurine will occur.
The rustic style, substantial texture, and ancient heritage of the clay pots may be what draws the most attention to its allure. Clay pottery is used to make terracotta figures, vases, and other utensils in addition to pots. Molagoda, a little town on the Colombo-Kandy road, is one of the most famous sites for clay pottery.
Wood carving is another traditional art form in Sri Lanka. Woodcarvers create a wide variety of items, including furniture, sculptures, and religious artefacts. The woodcarving tradition in Sri Lanka dates back centuries, and the country is home to some of the most skilled woodcarvers in the world. In Sri Lanka, it is a highly skilled craft, and woodcarvers use a variety of tools and techniques to create their works of art. The most common tools used in woodcarving in Sri Lanka are chisels, saws, and hammers. Woodcarvers also use a variety of techniques, including carving, inlay, and painting.
The woodcarving tradition in Sri Lanka is closely linked to the country’s Buddhist culture. Many of the woodcarvings in Sri Lanka depict Buddhist figures and symbols. Woodcarvings are also used to decorate temples and other religious buildings. Woodcarving is an important part of Sri Lankan culture, and it is a tradition that is still practised today. Woodcarvers in Sri Lanka create beautiful and intricate works of art that are admired by people all over the world.
Masks have a long history in Sri Lankan folklore. They serve a practical purpose in healing ceremonies and rituals. Some are dance-drama performances that describe a complex plot and are enacted by expert dancers and actors. Wearing these masks, which are commonly referred to as devil dances.
The 18 Sanni, which are considered to depict sicknesses or ailments produced by yakkas (devils), are one of the most popular and old actions. An exorcist wears eighteen masks and a thovil or devil dance is performed. Eighteen masks are carved to reflect the pain felt by those suffering from these diseases. Kolam and Raksha are two more popular mask dances or dramas. One is a comic performance and the other masks are primarily used in festivals and processions.
Ambalangoda is known as the mask-carving capital of Sri Lanka. Numerous shops dot the roadside as you travel through this coastal town. If you visit one of the businesses, you will be able to observe how these masks are carved and painted with vibrant colours. And you will be able to take one or many with you.
Sri Lankan jewellery is known for its use of precious and semi-precious stones. The country is home to a number of mines that produce a variety of stones, including sapphires, rubies, garnets, and topaz. Jewellery is made from a variety of materials, including gold, silver, and copper. Sri Lankan jewellery is often decorated with intricate designs and patterns. The designs are often inspired by traditional Sri Lankan culture and mythology. Jewellery is worn by both men and women in Sri Lanka. It is often used as a way to show wealth and status. Sri Lankan jewellery is a popular tourist souvenir. There are many jewellery shops in Sri Lanka where you can buy jewellery. You can also find jewellery at markets and street stalls.
Weaving is another traditional Sri Lankan art form. The most common type of weaving in Sri Lanka is handloom weaving. Handloom weaving is a labour-intensive process, but the results are beautiful and unique. Handloom weaving is a process that uses a loom to create fabric. The loom is a frame that holds the warp threads, which are the vertical threads that run the length of the fabric. The weft threads, which are the horizontal threads that run across the fabric, are passed through the warp threads using a shuttle. The process of handloom weaving is very slow and requires a lot of skill. The weaver must be able to control the tension of the warp threads and the speed at which the weft threads are passed through. The weaver must also be able to create the desired patterns and designs. Handloom weaving is a dying art form in Sri Lanka.
However, there are still a number of weavers who continue to practice this traditional craft. The weavers are often from rural areas and they use traditional methods and techniques. The fabric that is produced by handloom weavers is very high quality. It is strong, durable, and beautiful. The fabric is also very versatile and can be used to make a variety of items, including clothing, home furnishings, and accessories. If you are looking for a unique and beautiful piece of fabric, then you should consider buying handloom fabric from Sri Lanka. Handloom fabric is a great way to support the local economy and bring home a piece of Sri Lanka’s rich culture.
Batik is a type of fabric dyeing that uses wax to create intricate patterns. Batik is a popular art form in Sri Lanka, and it is used to create a variety of items, including clothing, home decor, and souvenirs. The batik tradition in Sri Lanka dates back centuries, and the country is home to some of the most skilled batik artists in the world.
Batik in Sri Lanka is a highly skilled craft, and batik artists use a variety of tools and techniques to create their works of art. The most common tools used in batik in Sri Lanka are a canting, a wax resist, and a dye pot. Batik artists also use a variety of techniques, including wax resist, tie dye, and painting.
The batik tradition in Sri Lanka is closely linked to the country’s Buddhist culture. Many of the batiks in Sri Lanka depict Buddhist figures and symbols. Batik is also used to decorate temples and other religious buildings. Batik is an important part of Sri Lankan culture, and it is a tradition that is still practised today. Batik artists in Sri Lanka create beautiful and intricate works of art that are admired by people all over the world.
Sri Lankan sculpture has a long and rich history, dating back to the Anuradhapura period. The earliest surviving sculptures in Sri Lanka are from the 3rd century BC, and they are mostly religious in nature. These sculptures depict the Buddha, his disciples, and other religious figures. In the 7th century AD, Sri Lanka entered a period of great cultural and artistic development. This was the time of the Polonnaruwa period, which is considered to be the golden age of Sri Lankan sculpture. During this period, sculptors created some of the most beautiful and intricate sculptures in the world. These sculptures are still admired today for their technical skill and artistic beauty.
After the Polonnaruwa period, Sri Lankan sculpture declined somewhat. However, it continued to be produced, and there are some fine examples of sculpture from the later periods. In recent years, there has been a revival of interest in Sri Lankan sculpture, and there are now a number of talented sculptors working in the country. Sri Lankan sculpture is known for its intricate detail and realism. Sculptors often use a variety of materials, including stone, wood, and metal.
They also use a variety of techniques, including carving, casting, and modelling. Sri Lankan sculpture is an important part of the country’s cultural heritage. It is a testament to the skill and artistry of Sri Lankan sculptors. If you are interested in learning more about Sri Lankan sculpture, there are a number of museums and galleries in Sri Lanka that have collections of Sri Lankan sculpture. You can also find books and articles about Sri Lankan sculpture online and in libraries.
Where to Buy Arts and Crafts in Sri Lanka
There are many places to buy arts and crafts in Sri Lanka. Here are a few suggestions:
- Colombo: The capital city of Colombo is home to a number of large and small shops selling arts and crafts.
- Galle: The historic city of Galle is a popular tourist destination, and it has a number of shops selling arts and crafts.
- Kandy: The cultural capital of Sri Lanka, Kandy is home to a number of traditional arts and crafts shops.
- Nuwara Eliya: The hill country town of Nuwara Eliya is known for its tea plantations and its cool climate. There are a number of shops selling arts and crafts in Nuwara Eliya.
Tips for Buying Arts and Crafts in Sri Lanka
Here are a few tips for buying arts and crafts in Sri Lanka:
- Be sure to bargain. It is customary to bargain when buying arts and crafts in Sri Lanka.
- Buy from local artisans: When possible, buy arts and crafts directly from local artisans. This will help to support the local economy and ensure that you are getting authentic handicrafts.
- Ask about the materials used. Make sure that the arts and crafts you are buying are made from high-quality materials.
- Support local artisans. When you buy arts and crafts from local artisans, you are helping to support the local economy.
Sri Lanka is a great place to find beautiful and unique arts and crafts. With its rich history and culture, the island has a lot to offer in terms of handcrafted items. Be sure to bargain when buying arts and crafts in Sri Lanka, and support local artisans by buying their products. You will be sure to find something special to take home with you.