Product: Kottans Basket - dyed palm leaf baskets
Region of Production: Tamil Nadu
The palmyra leaf baskets of Chettinad, also known as Kottans are made by the Chettiar people of Tamil Nadu. To create these products, the palm leaf is harvested and spread out like a fan to dry for between five to six days before being spliced with a knife into thin strips. The weavers braid the dried leaves into patterns using their hands to weave and feet to grip the base of the basket. Colourful cotton cloth and beads are sometimes used to enhance the object. Kottans were originally used for packaging gifts and containers filled with offerings to give at family functions and rituals. Kottans containing betel nut leaves and areca nuts were given to friends and people in general as a form of invitation or agreement.
M.Rm.Rm Cultural Foundation was established by Mrs. Visalakshi Ramaswamy to support research and the revival of crafts, textiles and architecture in the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu. The production of Kottans, the Chettinad palm leaf basket began as an income generation and cultural preservation initiative in the year 2000. The Foundation supports building new markets for Kottans through interventions that assist craftspeople to adapt their traditional weaving styles whilst incorporating contemporary color and design.
by sharmila wood