Wednesday, February 29, 2012
At crossroads? On the mat? But, no "going to the mattresses"
The mats woven from a local reed/grass is a local specialty. A traditional handicraft that has been recognized in many ways by many people.
Apparently (I am told,) for Elizabeth's coronation as the queen, in 1953, one of the official gifts from India was a Pattamadai mat.
I am not sure for how much longer this unique local tradition will survive. Get your mats before the artisans are all gone. Yes, you can customize it, too, which makes a mat all the more unique.
There is also a religion aspect to this art: The mat weavers are Muslims. I understand that all of them are Muslims. Or, at least, most of the leading ones are. Maybe some day in the future, I will spend some time understanding how this mat-Muslim connection happened. Perhaps a community of mat weavers converted to Islam quite a few decades ago is my hypothesis.