From Antiquity to Modernity: Bamboo Bastar Art Today

If you have ever visited or passed through India's Bastar region, you were likely to be amazed by the beauty of their bamboo-crafted art and architecture. From their hand-carved designs to their captivating colors, these creations are a symbol of Bastar's culture and heritage.

In this article, we’ll explore the long history of bamboo artifacts from Bastar and how it has developed over the years until it has become what it is today. We’ll also discuss how bamboo arts are helping to restore natural habitats, and why these masterpieces should be preserved for future generations. So, join us on a journey from antiquity to modernity as we explore this unique form of art!


Bamboo: A Sacred Material in Tribal Culture


Bamboo has been a part of Bastar tribal culture for centuries. In this region, it is seen as a sacred material, used to create various ceremonial objects and artifacts. From the wind-bells that hang in trees to the graceful masks worn by dancers during religious festivals and rituals, bamboo is integral to Bastar's art and culture.

Bastar bamboo art also has many symbolic meanings. For example, it has been said to represent the unity of all living things, with the diverse shapes and patterns representing different communities or tribes coming together as one.

It can also be said to symbolize courage, strength and resilience—qualities associated with many Bastar tribespeople, who have faced great adversity while struggling to stay connected to their traditional way of life.


Bamboo Bastar Art: Origin and Historical Significance

Bamboo art from the Bastar region of India has a rich and vibrant history. For centuries, bamboo art has been an integral part of life in the region, with artists using unique designs and creative techniques to create stunning pieces that have become synonymous with Bastar culture.

This traditional art form is far more than just beautiful decorations—it is steeped in cultural symbolism and meaning. Even today, iconic figures of Bastar are often depicted through symbols made of bamboo—a testament to the importance of this form of art.

The evolution of bamboo Bastar art is an inspiring tale, marked by the dynamic evolution and innovation among Bastar artists over time. While this art form was once largely limited to items from everyday life such as bridges, gardening tools and furniture, modern bamboo art now encompasses a variety of objects including figurines, wall hangings and souvenirs. This growth has enabled traditional artistic skills to be preserved while also providing a platform for contemporary interpretations of this timeless tradition.


The Making of Bamboo Art: An Age-Old Craft


If you're looking to learn more about bamboo Bastar art and how it's made, then you're in luck! This age-old craft has been passed down through generations of tribespeople and artisans, preserving it as an integral part of the cultural heritage of Chhattisgarh.

The making process involves an array of techniques to create products like baskets, winnows and toys. Some key steps:


Soaking Process

The first step is the soaking process — bamboo pieces are soaked in water overnight so they can easily be molded by the hand of a skilled artisan. If not done properly, this step alone could cause the bamboo articles to not last through use.


Weaving Process

After that, the weaving process begins. There are a range of different weaving techniques used to make different types of artifacts and some can take weeks or even months for a single masterpiece to be completed! Skilled weavers tightly bind strips of bamboo using natural threads to form complicated patterns and designs.


Finishing Touches: Painting & Polishing

For the finishing touches, natural dyes are used in painting techniques that complement traditional designs which depict everyday life in Chhattisgarh. The finishing touches include polishing which acts as a sealant so the colors will remain bright and vibrant for years, even with regular use.

It's incredible how much effort goes into each handmade product — from soaking to weaving, painting and polishing — all combining together for one beautiful piece of art that's sure to stand the test of time!


Traditional Bamboo Products of the Bastar Region


Four thousand years ago in the Bastar region, bamboo products were made to serve several purposes. In today's world, this traditional craft still exists—but instead of just supplying utilitarian items for everyday use, bamboo art of Bastar is now collected and appreciated as art.

The list of available bamboo products today is vast and varied. The most popular ones are:


· Animal figures: An array of animal figures are crafted from various tribal designs—including cows, bulls, horses, elephants, cats and more.

· Bird cages: Many intricate varieties are available in different sizes and shapes.

· Baskets/ trays: These range from small baskets to large trays with lids in various styles and designs.

· Sheesham/ mahogany furniture: This range includes dining tables, chairs, center tables and sofa sets made from sheesham or mahogany with a bamboo finish.

· Decorative items: These include hangings and wall decorations. For example, swing (jhula) patterns decorated with wood carvings and printed fabrics.

Thanks to the traditional craftsmanship of bamboo artisans in the Bastar region, these beautiful pieces are now found adorning homes around the world as modern works of art.

Modern Bamboo Creations: Fusion of Traditional and Contemporary

Bamboo Bastar art is evolving in more ways than one. Contemporary bamboo artisans have taken traditional craftsmanship passed down through generations and added a modern twist to create new designs and explore different textures and colors.

From furniture and home decor, to accessories to dress up an outfit – there are no limits when it comes to creating modern bamboo artifacts.

Utilizing Natural Dyes

Modern bamboo creations feature natural dyes, derived from nature’s raw materials like clay, charcoal, bark of trees and other materials from the forests of Bastar. These dyes are used to give the bamboo pieces unique colors that could not be achieved with conventional paint or dyeing methods.

Upscaling Techniques

Other upscaling techniques such as bamboo lamination can also be used for added effects. After the painstaking detail of making intricate shapes and patterns on these pieces is finished, a layer of lacquer is used to bring out the colors on the surface – something that traditional artists could not achieve without modern tools.

The result – Complex patterns merge with contemporary designs, leaving you with a stunning piece of handcrafted bamboo art that captures the essence of both traditional craftsmanship and something more modern.


Preserving the Bamboo Bastar Art Heritage


Bastar art is a longstanding tradition and heritage of the region, and now it has evolved into a form of modern art. Over the years, Bastar artisans have not only maintained this traditional craft but also worked to create diverse objects of decoration and utility. Their skill and commitment to preserving their culture can be seen in every bamboo artifact made from the region.

Given that the Bastar region is so remote, it’s not easy for these craftspeople to gain access to new markets. But that doesn’t stop them from working tirelessly to ensure their traditional bamboo crafts are kept alive and passed on to younger generations.

Organizations like Coshal have stepped in to help with this effort by providing more resources for artists in the region—including access to preparation and materials—as well as promoting their products nationally, enabling people everywhere to enjoy their unique creations. This has helped these local artisans expand their businesses, find a voice in the world of craftsmanship, actively preserve an ancient tradition and make a living doing what they love.




From ancient history to the present day, Bamboo Bastar art is a timeless reminder of the creative potential of the craft. For centuries, it has been used to depict wisdom and culture. Today, there is still a thriving demand for these highly desirable artifacts, as more and more people discover the beauty and complexity of this ancient craft. The artisans of Bastar have kept their tradition alive, adapting it to modern sensibilities and techniques, while staying true to their roots. Bamboo Bastar art is an example of how people have been able to combine their cultural heritage with the most modern of techniques to create something that is truly unique and special.


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