Kauna Reed Mats of Manipur

A unique craft of Manipur is the double-weave mat known as the kaunaphak reed mat. Known as phak in Meithei, a Manipuri tribal language, the reed used to weave the mat is called kauna. The mat is made by the local people for their own use, as well as for commercial purposes.

Phak is yellow in colour and is the succulent stem of a plant that grows in water. Reeds are carefully chosen for the mats. The plant is cut only when it has reached maturity. Once cut, the stems are dried and become soft and pithy and quite brittle. A bunch of cut stems of the appropriate length are then woven with bamboo placed at suitable distances to give the mat its desired length. The border has an interesting pattern and is about an inch wide. The kauna reed mats are not meant to be washed for the reed spoils with moisture.

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