VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Elephant shaped basket
Acc no - 71.673
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This elephant shaped sikki grass basket from Bihar is a fine example of creativity where the dyed grass is coiled along with the natural coloured grass to make an object distinct to the region and its aesthetics.

History of the Object
The craft of basketry pre-dates the craft of weaving and pottery by many thousands of years. Even at the food gathering stage, man used rudimentary articles made of intertwined branches for carrying wood and other things. Making a basket is a time intensive process, yet even today; it is still popular with every tribal and folk community around the world, who weave baskets for their everyday use. Although basketry was adopted universally by many communities, its uniqueness was expressed at various regions through the locally available materials that were used, like bamboo, cane, palm, grass, twigs, coir, etc. for its creation. The distinctiveness is also seen in the utility and purpose for which it was created. At some places it was used for storage or as a medium for carrying things and at others it took a more ritualistic form. There are also baskets made for specific use like straining rice beer, winnowing food grains or as traps for catching fish. The craft of basketry also gives the craftsmen flexibility to play with the forms and create works of art by just exploiting the various shades of strips in their weaving pattern. This basket is made in the shape of an elephant with its mahout, and apart from its utilitarian aspect (for storage), it displays the aesthetics of the region as well.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Sikki Grass 
Measurements
Height: 40cm, Width: 22cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Bihar 
Geography
India 
Time period
AD 20th century ~ AD 20th century 
Creation date
20th Century 
Function
 
Acquisition
 
Copyright
National Museum, New Delhi  
Acknowledgements
National Museum, New Delhi  
Owner
National Museum, New Delhi 
Museum
National Museum-New Delhi 
Credit line
National Museum, New Delhi  

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