Palm Leaf, Stem, Fibre

Several products are made out of the different parts of the palm trees in North and South Arcot, Salem, Thiruchirapalli, and Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu which include baskets in various patterns from Palmyra fibres and leaves as well as mats from the stem of the date palm. Tender palm leaves are separated from the strips and joined together by winding a running strip over them which is then folded like a ribbon and fastened by a thin strip of leaf to connect the layers at intervals, thus yielding a uniform and rhythmic pattern with pleasant colours in fine texture to include products like suitcases, boxes, bags, baskets, screens, chiks, mats, glass holders, vases, hats, beautiful sieves, hand fans, square mats and trinket boxes.

The articles from tender palm leaves which have their ribs removed and are then dried in the Sun include bags, dinner cases and ornamental hand held folding fans having anything between 37 to 56 blades. The blades are tied together by copper wire through holes on them and sewn together to spread out as a fan. The fans are made attractive in appearance by painting floral motifs on the blades.

Palm leaf and stem weaving is a flourishing craft in southern Kerala with bags, hats, and suitcases being made both for the Indian and international markets these days.