The Exquisite Art Of Bead Making By The Baiga Tribe


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Exquisite Art of Bead Making by the Baiga Tribe

By Outlook Traveller


Often in rural communities, crafts and textiles are made for everyday use, festivals or a bride's trousseau. The artisans, who double up as homemakers or farmers, rarely have the means or the motivation to seek out a wider audience for their art forms. And yet, when a traveller gets the chance to try a craft that's entirely handmade with a lot of care and attention, it can be a surprisingly rewarding experience even for the soul.


One such craft is bead jewellery making, which is predominantly practised by Baiga women. One can find fine examples of this in the village of Bandha Tola, which lies in the buffer zone of the Kanha National Park.

For the women of Bandha Tola, jewellery making is an everyday affair. They craft necklaces and earrings made of small glass beads bought from local markets with practiced ease. The craft is intricate, and one necklace can take up to four hours to make, even when three women work in tandem. It can take longer still when there are fewer women working together, and vice versa.

It's an art form that demands a lot of concentration and mindfulness from its makers. At a glance, it may seem simple enough. But anyone who attempts to make a piece of Baiga jewellery for the very first time soon discovers how painstaking the process is. At the same time, the intricacy and the beauty of the craft makes them want to try their hands at it anyway!

The Last Wilderness Foundation, with the help of Sunil Sinha, Assistant Director, Kanha Tiger Reserve, and Rajnish Singh, Deputy Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), has made it possible for travellers to experience the process of making Baiga jewellery, and encouraged the community to earn a living from it. The Last Wilderness Foundation can organise workshops (on request) to learn the art of making bead jewellery from the local Baiga ladies with nimble fingers and rare talent.

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