Orissa News

Unhusked Rice Craft of Orissa

Showpieces created from unhusked rice:Crats of Orissa

The tribal of Orissa are master craftsmen and specialize in producing spectacular items out of many daily use things. Handicrafts of the unhusked rice are one such thing. For aeons, the tribal have practiced this craft of making chains, figures of deities, animal figures, flowers, garlands and other objects. This painfully laborious craft – is practiced in parts of Balasore, Koraput, Bolangir and Kalahandi .The entire process demand meticulous attention and minute detailing.

Once a flourishing item of craft owing to religious significance, the craft is practiced hardly by 15 to 20 families today and that too during lean agricultural months. The products are sold mainly at local haths (markets), though some of the artisans have access to urban craft bazaars.


The products painstakingly pieced together, include images of Goddess Laxmi, elephants, chariots, tribal marriage crowns, images of temples, hand fans and baskets.

Tools & Techniques

No formal tools are used for making these tribal craft of Orissa . The raw material required is mainly unhusked paddy seeds of uniform size. The only other things that is needed is thin bamboo sticks and strong yarn in red, green and yellow colors. The process involves tying by hand each individual paddy seed to two thin bamboo sticks that are placed parallel to each other at a minute distance but are sufficiently close enough to hold the paddy seeds tightly in a straight line. This is a very painstaking and repetitive job that requires high degree of concentration and unmatched dexterity. Each and every seed of paddy has to be knotted individually. Garlands of paddy seeds are thus formed with different colored threads which are then pieced together to give different shapes. The length of each of these paddy garlands is approximately one yard. About ten paddy garlands are required to create 30 pieces of Goddess Laxmi in a medium size. Each of these pieces is sold at a nominal rate. After household chores are over women and children usually perform the hard task of making the paddy garlands in their spare time; both the men and women then craft the final images.

One of the important items of Orissa crafts till a few years back, the unhusked rice craft is slowly dying down as craftsmen are getting lethargic towards devoting long hours to this craft.