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Pulicat Palm Leaf Basketry

Pulicat Palm Leaf Basketry


Beads: Tamilakam: a multi-cultural center for bead trade


Tartan: Its journey through the African Diaspora

The identified craft for study is the Palm Leaf from the region of Pulicat, in Thiruvallur District of Tamil Nadu near the capital city of Chennai.


Pulicat Women Palm Leaf Cane & Bamboo and Allied Products Workers Industrial Cooperative Society Ltd: One of the biggest challenges faced by the craft sector is to find new use for crafts in everyday life to ensure sustainability of traditional practices and livelihood of artisans. The Pulicat Cooperative Society was set up to uplift the living standards of minority communities living below poverty line.

The Society’s products are well consumed in domestic as well as international markets. The craftswomen have good skill and eager to learn. But they miss out on having exposure to the change in trends; marketing hence in the recent years they have not been able to achieve stability.


The aim of this discussion is to access the problems faced by the Society and provide sustainable solutions after examining its feasibility.

The objective of this study is to understand the nature of the bead trade from 400BCE – present in Tamil Nadu keeping in mind its importance as a multicultural centre for bead trade. The study will focus on the early trade period; look into the various techniques of bead making and the different manufacturing centres in Tamil Nadu through time.

The beads are from the collection of the Ashvita Art Foundation. These beads have been collected through various sources but primarily originating from the river beds of Tamil Nadu and South India.

Tartan: Its Journey through the African Diaspora was the untold the story of how tartan traveled around the world and through its influence led to aspects of material culture being developed in various parts of Africa and the Diaspora.


The project looks at how these cultures adapted, adopted or absorbed this influence to bring significance to fabrics such as madras cloth. Madras cloth was created in India and then sold to people in the Caribbean, the fabric has been used in the development of many islands national dress.

The project, which had 3 major outputs; an exhibition, a documentary screening and a dance performance, highlighted the heritage and legacy of how these fabrics came to move around the world and explained how cultures often intertwine to develop different traditions and cultural practices.  

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