Here is another one from our Natural Fibre Series.
Chipkiang is a local grass that grows all over Ladakh, especially in areas along the River Indus where the soil is especially fertile. Chipkiang is crafted into backpack like baskets and matting for use in homes by villagers. The basketry activities are done during breaks from their daily chores and the hectic farming season. The baskets are made into two basic sizes; the smaller one is used for carrying vegetables while the larger one known as tsepo is used for carrying heavier and larger loads. The basket has two components: the basic skeleton of the basket formed by two sturdy branches of salchang willow, bent at right angles, and the body of the basket that is made from the chipkiang grass stalks, and is woven in the weft twining technique. The grass is softened by soaking it in water for two weeks. A set of stems of equal thickness are then selected. Two of these pairs are placed at right angles and a pair of grass stalks is twined around the vertical stalks of the circular form as well as the willow branches. The rim of the basket is finished by braiding the loose ends of the grass at the open end of the basket. The basket is allowed to dry in the sun for about a month as the grass remains wet.
We would love to get connected with Chipkiang Weavers and bring the crafts back.
Any leads would be highly appreciated.
Join us in the journey to bring the crafts back: