Masland, a humble reed mat, is woven by a small community of weavers in the lush green villages of Pashchim Medinipur, West Bengal. This mat weaving practice, like any other craft, reflects the artisan's ingenuity in the handling of a simple local raw material, and his natural creativity seen in the aesthetic and purposeful shaping of these beautiful mats. ~ This project documents the journey, undertaken by me along with a classmate, Sayan Chanda ( , to study this craft and its people, to discover and learn from their stories. The document aims to highlight the intimacy with materials, the simplicity of approach, the ability to ascribe value to an object of every day use, that manifests itself in these Masland mats.
One of the most unique features of the craft is its close interconnectedness with the surrounding ecology, making it sustainable. This is shown here through sketches of a typical house in Medinpur.
The document first higligths the living ecology of the region, moving onto the people and their way of life there, finally coming to the craft practice.
A detailed diagrammatic representation of the entire process of ceation of the mat
The craft was studied in detail, to understand the raw materials, the different processes involved, the motif vocabulary, the uses, the craftsperson and his workspace, etc.
The document also speaks about the mat trade, and its position in todays market.
~ This document stands as a dedication to all the weaver families of Medinipur ~

A documentation of the mat making craft of Medinipur, West Bengal

Tanvi Kareer
Textile Designer Mumbai, India