Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sikki art : A traditional handicraft

Sikki art : A traditional handicraft

The sikki grass articles made by women of north Bihar are entirely different from anything else, which you see in any other part of the country. They transport you into another world. As the very name indicates, sikki is a plant, which automatically grows by the riverside or roadside of rural area. The places where there is moisture are also suitable for the growth of this plant.

After the rains, it is cut down and divided into thin pieces and preserved in the house for use throughout the year. Though it has its own golden colour, which is very attractive but the village women also dye the grass in red, black, blue and green colours to give the articles made of this – a presentable look.

The manufacture of sikki article is very simple. Women of artistic caliber, settling the different parts of this dried grass in desired shape do stitching work with a thick needle known as Takua. The women make small tray for serving fruits, dry also make large trays known as Dagra. Small baskets are made for their domestic use and organic designs are worked in different colours.

They display human figures, animal’s birds thereon. Each one is unique piece, naive yet highly expressive and most decorative. The elephant with a rider, horse with a rider is fabulous. The clothes box is in the shape of an elephant. While the back of a horse becomes the stand for a large tray set off by gay tasels; a fish serves the purpose of a make up box: an owl whose head can be detached turns into a jar; a bird is made into tray and so on.
It is difficult to trace out the origin of this unique craft, but from a study of social customs and the manner of its manufacture one comes to the conclusion that this must be an ancient craft. The fact that sikki is closely connected with the marriage ceremonies is perhaps the main reason why so many different patterns and deigns have been worked into it. It is essential the young bride should learn the art of making objects out of sikki from her childhood, so that at the time of her departure for her new home(sasural), she could carry a good collection with her , It was and is a custom that , along with the dowry, these subjects would also be displayed and villagers would assess the ability of the young bride, from the imagination she had shown in creating new designs.