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Folk Craft in the Village Kudawa of the Sinharaja Rain Forest in Sri Lanka

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Sinhala, University of Ruhuna, SRI LANKA
  • 2 TURIS Project, Department of Sinhala, University of Ruhuna, SRI LANKA

Int. Res. J. Social Sci., Volume 4, Issue (11), Pages 37-44, November,14 (2015)


The village “Kudawa” lying in the Kalawāna Divisional Secretarial Division of Ratnapura District in Sri Lanka also forms the north-western boundary of Sinharāja forest which is a wet tropical evergreen forest. The major livelihood of the people of Kudawa is the small scale cultivation of tea. Even at present, however, the majority of people in this village possess talent for making various tools necessary for day-to-day activities. Some people are engaged themselves in folk handicraft by means of which they spend their leisure treating the activity as a hobby. They have the necessary knowledge of making those creative products. Sinharāja Forest surrounding the village is the major source of raw material they need to make the products. Chief raw material used to makefolk craft includes bata / bamboo (Ochlandra stridula Moon ex Thw.), wēväl (cane), Vätakeyyā / screwpine (Pandanus kaida Kurz.), dunukeyyā (Pandanus thwaitesii Martelli), Indi kola (wild date palm leaves), katukitul (Oncosperma fasciculatum Thw.) and varieties of rush. Winnowing-fans, open baskets, milk-strainers, bags, mats and baskets can be identified as main folk crafts. Though there is a market for folk craft here on account of its tourist potential the community seems to have deviated from it to a large extent by now. Though the bustling situation created with the cultivation of tea has exerted a certain amount of unfavorable influence on traditional folk craft, actually speaking the present study revealed that it is the present forest conservation law which has had a decisive and adverse impact on the community to diverge from the folk craft. Community has been forbidden to enter the forest. In consequence a great difficulty in obtaining raw material has arisen. In view of the above it can be concluded that it is primarily the prevailing forest conservation law which made the community to deviate from the traditional folk craft.


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