Handloom Weaving

Handloom Weaving


The age-old craft of weaving was prevalent all over the Kandyan region in ancient times; nowadays it is practised mainly at Talagune, Uda Dumbara, and at Vellassa, all in the central province of the country; encouragement from the government - through the Department of Small Industries, State Trading Corporation (Salusala) and the Department of Textile Industries - has, however, increased the proliferation of weaving-centres. The handloom sector consists of small units, under the mixed purview of the private, corporate, and public sectors.

With the removal of import restrictions, the handloom sector in Sri Lanka initially buckled under competition. Special impetus given by the government, especially technological inputs, the upgradation of technology with foreign assistance, and the enhancement of local skills through several workshops and seminars for the weavers have helped the craft (and the sector) find its feet again. One of the key training centres is the National Handlooms Centre (NHC), a specialised unit of the Textiles Ministry: this offers training in textile design, critical if Sri Lankan weavers are to compete successfully with international products available in the national market, as well as in the international market.

Traditional 'dumbara weaving' is still practised in a few Kandyan villages such as Talagune, Dumbara in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. This is a truly indigenous form of folk weaving using cheap yarn that is created on a simple loom known as the 'pit loom'. These were/are inexpensive and are practical woven pieces - meant for the use of the peasants, with designs and patterns drawn from indigenous traditions.



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