Traditional Arts and Crafts of Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka is a land that boasts of a rich cultural heritage. During this long history, various arts and crafts evolved and some carried on as traditional industries that are practiced even today. As centuries passed by, various cultures and important historic events influenced these industries making them unique to the island. Whether you are looking to grab some authentic souvenirs or simply interested in learning about traditional Sri Lankan industries, take a look at some of the most amazing arts and crafts of Sri Lanka that have evolved over the years.

  • Sculpting and painting

Throughout history Buddhism has played an important role in influencing the various arts and crafts of the island. A fine example of this can be seen by the large number of sculptures and paintings on display in ancient ruin cities. It is quite intriguing to see some of the earliest works that were carved out of rock. Over time various other materials like wood, metal, marble, limestone, jade etc. were used. Paintings were also a popular method used to decorate walls of shrines, palaces and other important constructions. Various styles of paintings can been seen belonging different eras, often influenced by dominating cultures and practices that took root during the time.

  • Mask making

If you had the chance to witness a Perahera or any other traditional cultural display, you would have most certainly seen dancers wearing scary looking facial wear. These are masks that depict traditional folklore in Sri Lanka and were originally used in rituals like devil dances practiced for healing purposes. Today, they are a key feature seen in many traditional festivals and processions. This industry is still kept alive mainly in the coastal city, Ambalangoda and you could even consider buying one of these colourful works of art to take back home with you.

  • Handloom

The handloom textile industry of Sri Lanka is one which is centuries old. Due to its fine quality and luxurious appeal it was historically traded to other parts of the world like China, India and Middle East. In recent years this industry has received a strong boost due of the rising demand for environmentally friendly, sustainable materials. There are a number of handloom products available in Sri Lanka including curtains, cushions, soft toys, and most importantly exquisitely beautiful garments like saris, sarongs, dresses, shawls and much more.

  • Batik industry

Batik is believed to have originated from Indonesia, but this industry has established itself within Sri Lanka as well. This craft involves following a careful and detailed production process to yield unique eye-catching and colourful designs. Sri Lankan Batiks are well known for being of the finest quality and it comes to no surprise that anything from Batik wall hangings to clothing items are all bestsellers.

  • Jewellery making

Throughout history jewellery has played a very important role in Sri Lankan culture (a trip to the National Museum will show you the wide array of jewellery items worn by kings and queens centuries ago). Even today, the industry is given much prominence as it is an important source of income to the country. While you spend time in Sri Lanka you would not be able to resist the urge to pick up some fancy pieces of jewellery that come in traditional and modern designs. Sri Lankan jewellery is also known to feature the finest quality precious and semi-precious gems. Ratnapura is a famous city in Sri Lanka known to be a treasure trove for such valuable jewels, so you might want book our featured bungalow and spend a day or two of your vacation in this city.

  • Pottery

Pottery may be one of the oldest crafts, but the products created are still found to be essential items used on a daily basis in most households in Sri Lanka. Apart from the clay pots that are used for cooking, the industry is known to produce beautiful earthenware and other ornamental items. If you are planning to stay in one of our accommodation options in Kandy, you might want to stop by the small pottery village, Molagoda and watch skilled craftsmen wield a pottery wheel to create works of art.

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Rozanne Amath - Yoho Creator

Rozanne Amath - Yoho Creator

Rozanne is a marketing professional who has worked on various projects related to Science and Technology, Innovation and Sustainability. Throughout her career she developed a passion for writing and now aspires to be a professional writer. Rozanne looks forward to sharing her thoughts and ideas with readers and to provide inspiration through her experiences.