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Telling Bamboo Tales
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Tribal Communities of India have a long relationship with Bamboo going back hundreds of years.

This tall plant from the grass family (Poaceae) is among the most useful flora discovered by man. Some species of Bamboo are the fastest growing plants on the planet. Flexibility and resilience are features of the Bamboo that continue to make it valuable as a building and craft material in many rural homes in East and Southeast Asia to this day.

The tribal communities of India have a long relationship with Bamboo going back to hundreds of years. What started off as simple innovations to store food and build homes developed into elaborate objects over time. While the material is the same the manner in which it is turned into artefacts and household items varies within communities, reflecting the aesthetics of a particular tribal culture and its distinct history. Additionally, the stem, shoots and leaves of the bamboo are used as food

and medicine by many tribal communities of India, particularly in the North East.

Closer to home the Kaadu Kurubas (as well as other tribal communities of the Nagarahole reserve) have been using the local bamboo found abundantly in this region. Bamboo objects for domestic and ritualistic use have been an integral part of their life and social history over a vast period of time. Bamboo baskets in particular are complex creations requiring nimble fingers, focused attention, imagination and a deep understanding of the unique properties of this material. They have learnt how to use Bamboo’s unique suppleness and strength to craft a
number of useful items for everyday use in their homes and continue to do so even now.

Bamboo weaving and craft making are probably one of the few surviving examples of an activity that predates the era of trade and the birth of a cash economy. Many tribal communities in India continue to source their bamboo in the wild and use it primarily for their own needs. 

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