Maldives Art and Craft


Maldives art and craft is one of the finest examples of the country's rich cultural background and the artistic bent of mind of the people of the country. Starting from the intricately carved tombstones to the beautiful hand made mats, everything points out to the skills of the people of the country.

Maldivian handicrafts, sculptures, wood carvings and other forms of art and craft have their own unique charm and beauty. The skills have been passed down through generations and the craftsmen take pride in possessing these artistic skills.

Art Calligraphy is one of the most popular examples of Maldivian art. One can find beautiful art calligraphy in the mosques of the country. The Islamic center houses some of the biggest examples of ancient as well as modern calligraphy. These skills have been down through generations.

Wooden Lacquer Ware is the biggest example of Maldivian handicrafts. These products are mainly made in Thulhaadhoo in Baa Atoll. In Dhivehi it is known as Liye Laajehun and involves hollowing out pieces of wood to make beautiful looking wooden boxes and decorative objects. One can find vases, pillboxes, plates, containers with lids and other wooden articles. These objects are lacquered in red, black and yellow resins. The objects bear colorful floral patterns and motifs.

Boat Building is also an example of Maldives art and craft. In olden days the 'dhonis' were made of coconut wood. This today has been replaced with imported hard wood. The wooden planks are held together with copper rivets and the boats have lateen sails. In olden time coir was used to hold the wooden planks together and the sails were made of coconut fronds. Making the boats is an art as it has to be constructed properly or else it will not be able to withstand the force of the waves.

Maldives handicrafts also consist of mat making. The womenfolk of the country weave beautiful looking reed mats. The mats made in Gadhdhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll are the most popular and famous. One can find mats of different shapes and sizes in Maldives. The mats are made by drying the reeds in the sun and thereafter dying them with bright colors. The mats have beautiful designs and are woven on a handloom by the weaver.

Maldives art and craft is extremely popular among tourists who come here for a vacation. The handicrafts and the artwork are extremely attractive and worth appreciating.