December 2, 2023

Sri Lanka Expo

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Discover the Beauty of Handicrafts in Sri Lanka

handicrafts in sri lanka

Sri Lanka is a country brimming with culture and tradition, and handicrafts are a significant part of this heritage. Handicrafts are woven into the fabric of Sri Lanka’s history, showcasing the country’s artistic prowess and creativity. From pottery to wood carving, Sri Lankan handicrafts offer a diverse range of unique products.

Whether you’re a tourist exploring the country or a local resident looking to decorate your home, Sri Lankan handicrafts are the perfect way to add a touch of authenticity and cultural significance to your surroundings. These handcrafted products offer a glimpse into the traditions, beliefs, and lifestyles of Sri Lankan people.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sri Lankan handicrafts are an essential part of the country’s rich cultural heritage.
  • Handicrafts in Sri Lanka offer a diverse range of products, including pottery, textiles, jewelry, and woodcrafts.
  • These unique handcrafted products provide insight into Sri Lankan traditions, beliefs, and lifestyles.
  • Whether you’re a tourist or a local resident, Sri Lankan handicrafts are a perfect way to add cultural significance to your surroundings.
  • Initiatives have been taken to sustain and promote the handicraft industry in Sri Lanka.

Traditional Crafts in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has a rich heritage of traditional crafts that have been passed down from generation to generation. The country’s skilled craftsmen produce a diverse range of handcrafted products that showcase the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.

Local Handicrafts in Sri Lanka

The local handicrafts in Sri Lanka are a testament to the country’s artistic abilities. The products are unique and often reflect the local culture and customs. The handicraft industry is an important part of Sri Lanka’s economy, providing employment to many skilled artisans.

One of the most popular traditional crafts in Sri Lanka is pottery. It is a skill that has been passed down for generations, and the craftsmen produce a wide range of products, from simple vases to intricate sculptures. The pottery is often decorated using traditional motifs and patterns, making them a visual treat.

Batik textiles are another popular traditional craft in Sri Lanka. The process involves waxing and dyeing cloth to create intricate designs and patterns. The batik textiles are often used to make clothing, accessories, and home decor items.

Jewelry making is also a popular traditional craft in Sri Lanka. The craftsmen use a variety of materials such as gold, silver, and gems to create unique pieces. The jewelry often features intricate designs and is a testament to the country’s rich culture and heritage.

Sri Lankan Handcrafted Products

In addition to traditional crafts, Sri Lanka also produces handcrafted products that are famous around the world. The country is known for its exquisite handloom textiles, which are made using ancient techniques. These textiles are often used to make clothing, bed linens, and home decor items.

Sri Lanka is also renowned for its handcrafted tea, which is produced using traditional methods. The tea is grown in the highlands of Sri Lanka and is known for its unique aroma and flavor. Sri Lanka is one of the world’s largest exporters of tea.

Preserving Sri Lanka’s Handicraft Heritage

Sri Lanka’s government and non-profit organizations have taken initiative to preserve and promote the country’s handicraft heritage. They organize events and exhibitions to showcase the traditional crafts and provide a platform for local artisans. The tourism industry also plays a crucial role in promoting Sri Lankan handicrafts as tourists often purchase these unique products as souvenirs.

By preserving and promoting its handicraft heritage, Sri Lanka is not just preserving its culture and traditions, but also providing employment opportunities for many skilled craftsmen.

Artisan Crafts in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a country steeped in tradition and history, and its artisan crafts are no exception. Sri Lankan handmade crafts are unique, well-crafted, and offer a glimpse into the country’s cultural heritage and artistic expressions. These crafts showcase the creativity of the country’s artisans and are a testament to their skills and passion.

Mask Making

One of the outstanding artisan crafts in Sri Lanka is mask making. It is an ancient form of art that has been passed down through generations. Masks were originally used in traditional dance and drama performances, exorcism rituals, and other religious ceremonies. Nowadays, they are used as decorative pieces for homes and offices or as souvenirs for tourists.

Sri Lankan masks come in various sizes, shapes, and colors, and each tells a story. The most popular types are the ‘Raksha’ (demon) masks, which are used to ward off evil spirits, and the ‘Sanni’ (devil) masks, which represent deadly diseases and illnesses. These masks are intricately designed, and the craftsmanship involved in producing them is awe-inspiring.


Lacework is another Sri Lankan artisan craft that has existed for centuries. It is a delicate art that involves weaving threads into intricate patterns to create beautiful pieces of lace. The lacework is done entirely by hand and is mostly produced by women in rural communities. Historically, this craft was a means for these women to earn an income while looking after their households.

Sri Lankan lacework is highly sought after due to its intricate designs and high quality. The designs include flowers, butterflies, and geometrical shapes and are used for tablecloths, napkins, bedspreads, and other decorative items.

Handloom Weaving

Handloom weaving is a traditional craft that has been practiced in Sri Lanka for centuries. It is a complex process that involves manually interweaving threads to produce fabric. This craft is a significant part of Sri Lankan culture and is often associated with the production of sarongs and sari fabric.

Sri Lankan handloom fabrics are made with a variety of fibers, including silk and cotton and often have intricate designs that reflect the country’s rich history and culture. They are used to create vibrant clothing, home furnishings, and other decorative items.

Overall, Sri Lanka’s artisan crafts are an essential part of the country’s rich cultural heritage. They showcase the talent and creativity of Sri Lankan artisans and provide an insight into the country’s traditions and customs. Tourists seeking unique and one-of-a-kind souvenirs should definitely explore Sri Lanka’s handicraft markets to discover these remarkable crafts.

Sri Lankan Wood Crafts

Sri Lanka has a rich history of woodcraft, dating back to ancient times. The country’s abundance of native wood species and skilled craftsmen make it a hub for producing exquisite wooden handicrafts. The Sri Lankan woodcraft industry has gained popularity both locally and internationally, contributing to the country’s exports of handicrafts.

The Art of Woodcarving in Sri Lanka

Woodcarving in Sri Lanka is a skill that has been passed down through generations. It involves carving intricate designs into wood using traditional tools such as chisels and mallets. The craftsmen use a range of woods such as ebony, mahogany, and teak to produce a variety of products such as sculptures, furniture, and decorative items.

One of the unique forms of woodcarving in Sri Lanka is the art of mask-making. The masks are often used in traditional dance performances and have become a popular souvenir for tourists visiting Sri Lanka. The masks are intricately carved to depict various characters from ancient folklore and are decorated with vibrant colors.

Significance of Sri Lankan Woodcrafts

Sri Lankan woodcrafts hold significant cultural and religious value. Wooden sculptures of Buddha, Hindu gods, and goddesses, and other religious figures are popular among locals and tourists alike. These products not only showcase the talent and creativity of Sri Lankan craftsmen, but they also represent the country’s diverse cultural heritage.

Apart from religious significance, wooden handicrafts are also used for practical purposes. Wooden furniture, such as chairs, tables, and cabinets, are popular among buyers, given their durability and unique designs.

Handicrafts Export Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s woodcraft industry is an important contributor to the country’s exports of handicrafts. According to the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, the country’s total woodcraft exports were worth USD 61.1 million in 2020. The industry exports a range of wooden handicrafts to countries such as the USA, Europe, and Japan.

The industry also provides employment opportunities to many skilled and unskilled workers, contributing to the country’s economy. Initiatives taken by the government to promote and sustain the handicraft industry have helped boost exports, while also preserving the country’s cultural heritage.

“Woodcraft is an integral part of Sri Lanka’s handicraft industry. The unique designs and quality of Sri Lankan wooden handicrafts have gained popularity worldwide, and we are proud to showcase our talent to the world.” – Handicrafts exporter, Sri Lanka.

  • Ebony, mahogany, and teak are popular woods used in Sri Lankan woodcrafts.
  • Wooden sculptures of religious figures are popular among tourists and locals.
  • The woodcraft industry is an important contributor to Sri Lanka’s exports.

Preserving Sri Lanka’s Handicraft Heritage

In recent years, the Sri Lankan government has placed a greater emphasis on promoting and preserving the country’s handicraft industry, with a particular focus on handicrafts export Sri Lanka. This has led to a surge in handicraft production, as well as increased support for artisans and craft communities.

Government Initiatives

The government has taken several initiatives to boost handicraft production and support artisan communities. For instance, it has introduced training programs to develop the skills of local craftsmen, providing them with the necessary tools and resources to expand their businesses. Additionally, it has established handicraft villages, which serve as centers of production and allow tourists to experience Sri Lankan handicrafts firsthand.

Non-Profit Organizations

Several non-profit organizations in Sri Lanka are also working to support the handicraft industry. These organizations provide financial support, business training, and marketing assistance to local artisans, helping them to expand their businesses and reach new markets. They also organize handicraft fairs and other events, which provide opportunities for artisans to showcase their products and connect with potential buyers.

The Role of Tourism

Tourism plays a significant role in promoting Sri Lankan handicrafts and supporting the industry. The country’s unique handicrafts and traditional crafts are popular among tourists, who are eager to purchase authentic Sri Lankan souvenirs. This creates a significant export market for Sri Lankan handicrafts, which in turn benefits local artisans and craft communities. Furthermore, many handicraft villages have been established in tourist destinations, which allow visitors to learn about the craft-making process and purchase products directly from local artisans.

Overall, the government, non-profit organizations, and the tourism industry are all working together to preserve and promote Sri Lanka’s handicraft heritage. Through their combined efforts, the country’s handicraft industry is thriving, and local artisans are able to benefit from increased export opportunities.


What are some popular traditional crafts in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is known for its traditional crafts such as pottery, batik textiles, and jewelry. These crafts showcase the cultural heritage and artistic expressions of the country.

What are some examples of artisan crafts in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is home to various artisan crafts, including mask making, lacework, and handloom weaving. These crafts highlight the talent and creativity of Sri Lankan artisans.

What can I expect to find in Sri Lankan wood crafts?

Sri Lankan wood crafts offer a range of exquisite products, including carved sculptures, furniture, and decorative items. Local craftsmen use intricate designs and techniques to create these pieces.

How is Sri Lanka preserving its handicraft heritage?

Sri Lanka’s handicraft heritage is being preserved through various initiatives. The government, non-profit organizations, and local communities are working together to support and sustain the handicraft industry. Tourism also plays a role in creating awareness and providing a market for Sri Lankan handicrafts.

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