Manipur Basket Weaving
The craftsmen of Manipur make baskets by cutting up whole bamboo poles into several pieces, usually about a metre long, as per the necessary requirements. The cut pieces are then split vertically into two. The split halves are again split vertically into two, thus forming four bamboo splits termed as Wachets. Thereafter, the layer on the inner surface is removed. While the bamboo is still wet, the hard outer layer or skin is removed by scraping with the machete termed as Thangjou, a broad and heavy knife used as an implement. The protruding parts on the nodes are also removed.
The Wachet is further split vertically into two, the split halves of which are again split vertically into two. Each of the four bamboo splits thus formed is referred to as Hanggel Tao. Again, the Hanggel Tao is split vertically into two. The split halves are further split into two to form the Payashis.
Each of the four Payashis are then finely knifed uniformly, after which they are simply referred to as Paya. The Payas are the ones directly used for making baskets, or in some cases stored up on the Lup, i.e., scaffolds suspended over the fireplace for some time to prevent them from getting spoiled by stem borers. The conditioned Payas are mainly used for making baskets in the close weave pattern. These baskets are usually spongy. They have now adapted the same process into weaving with recycled plastic, turning traditional into contemporary.