Edition Maldives - EN

The Maldives

Art in the Maldives

22 June 2017 - 13:47

Aishath Sajuha

Travel enthusiast, amateur artist and blogger.

Since tourism began in the Maldives, somewhere during the 1970’s, the local crafts have been popularized amongst many tourists. The various crafts and the handiwork of the Maldivian local craftsmen have always fascinated many travelers, all around the globe. However, nowadays these magnificent works of art has been falling victim to the rise of cheap imitations and unauthentic replicas. This could be due to the high production costs of the traditional methods, when applied to a higher scale production, these unauthentic products are nowhere near the authentic real ones, even in beauty as well as uniqueness. 

Souvenir shops in both cities and in islands sell both unauthentic cheap imports as well as authentic original local handicrafts. For the travelers it is crucial to understand what they are paying for and what the real deal is. 

Coir ropes

Coir ropes are an important aspect of the Maldivian civilization, since they have multiple purposes, they were considered extremely important in the earlier days for the Maldivians when building huts or in construction of sailing vessels etc. 

Coir ropes are hand rolled and woven into ropes of different sizes, and nowadays its mainly used in ornamental purposes. 

Lacquer works

Commonly known as ‘Liye Laajehun’. Maldivian lacquer works has always been a magnificent and amusing form of art which produces creative designs throughout the Maldivian history. Since long back, this technique has been used to create vases, boxes, kitchen utensils for royals by the early Maldivians. 

It is a highly decorative form of art, and are carried out by skilled artists starting with bright colors which ends with darker colors such as black.  The artist curves out designs exposing the bottom layers and finally a finishing polish is applied and the artwork is ready for you. 




Dhoni crafts

Dhonis or sail boats, are a major invention of the Maldivians, since it was their first ever modes of transport. Designed in such a way to withstand the vigor of the oceans and to provide swift motion, crafting of miniature models of these ancient sail boats is known as Dhoni crafting. 

Such models vary in size and quality and are available in the Maldives. 

Mat weaving

Mats or as how Maldivians call them “Kunaa” were very important for the early natives. Mostly used for seating and sleeping purposes, mats were also delivered as royal gifts by the Maldivian Sultans. The unique artistic designs created during the weaving are still comparable to modern textures. 

Wood carvings

Ancient native Maldivians used wood from the trees to create objects to optimize their work and to fulfil their needs dude to the remoteness and abundance of plants in the Maldives. Moreover the carvings are polished and can be represented as splendid designs. 

Wood carving has evolved in such a way that it’s now used to create works of art such as miniature models that represent early Maldivians and their culture. Traditional Maldivian Mosques are proof of the uniqueness and beauty as they have large wooden planks with texts and designs curved on to them. 

Coconut shell products

Coconut! It’s one of the most abundant fruits in the Maldives. It is one of those fruits that can be used during all stages of its maturation. Moreover, this abundant plant – palm trees, is the Maldivian National tree and has been used for multiple purposes throughout the Maldivian history. 

Trunks are used for timber, whilst the husks are used to make coir ropes. The leaves are used for weaving mats and to make thatching for roofs. The eakles are used to create brooms, the shells are cleaned, dried and polished before using them to create ornaments or any other works of art. 


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