Originilism and Tharu Tribe
Our partner, Mon Ami Foundation has shared a short writeup on their work with the Tharu Tribe. Also a short photo feature documenting the women and the creation of these beautiful baskets.
Originalism and the Tharu Collection
The moonj grass basketery is a perfect example of originalism being practised by the Tharu tribe, a community nestled in the Terai and Bhabar region of Uttarakhand, now popularly known as the Udham Singh Nagar District.
The Tharu people consider themselves as the ‘people of the forests’ since they are mainly involved in agricultural work. Tharu women take a lot of pride in their artistic skills of creating beautifully handcrafted products using the local grass i.e Moonj, available in their area. These women are extremely proficient weavers who are able to use their traditional skills to develop baskets with intricate designs, vibrant colours and patterns. As a cultural practice, the highly decorated baskets are given as gifts to daughters in marriages. Moonj baskets with original narratives and intended use have been crafted since decades.
Moonj is a wild grass that grows along the seasonal ponds or larger water sources that is harvested by hand usually during the monsoons. The women travel long distances from their villages to harvest this grass, a time consuming task, as only the central stem of the grass needs to be gathered rather than the whole grass itself. After a few days of sun drying the grass is lighter in colour and then the actual process begins. Moonj is cut, shaved and dyed in different colours and left out to dry again. Only after this initial preparation which spans over a few days and involves a lot of hard work, is the grass ready to be woven into gorgeous and stunning pieces of baskets and many other extremely efficient and handy products.
Contemporary Designs with effort to maintain Originilism
Mon Ami Foundation, an independent not for profit trust, registered in 2015, works with a focus on social responsibilty. It works closely with corporates, domain experts, service providers and recipient communities to support projects related to skills, livelihood enhancement and sustainability. Mon Ami Foundation along with USN District, Uttarakhand and JBGVS have lent their support in terms of design and market linkages, to sustain this craft and make it more adaptable for the urban/ international set-up. The effort involved working closely with the women from Tharu tribe to introduce modern designs and forms.The painstaking slow process involved multiple rounds of product development. Know more about our work on www.monamifoundation.com.
Cleaning & Care Instructions
Some useful tips to keep your baskets happy and healthy
- Since these baskets are made from natural material, keep them dry to prolong their beauty. Use a wet wipe whenever necessary.
- Keep them away from direct sunlight and heat to maintain the brightness of the colors.
- When using your basket as a planter, be sure to line it with a saucer before putting the pot to avoid direct contact with water.
- When using your basket to hold food items, be sure to line it with a napkin to avoid build up of moisture and mildew.
You can shop the collection here - https://khojcrafts.com/collections/partner-platform-1