Thulhaadhoo, being the only island actively involved in the craft is now known as the ace of lacquer work in Maldives. But how did a practice, so popular in Maldivian history shrink to one island?
“Lacquer work in Thulhaadhoo is traditional knowledge. Several families have been practising it since history. Other islands failed to pass on this valuable craft to future generations because there were very few people involved in it, ” says Ibrahim Zubair, recipient of National Award of Recognition in Arts and Crafts in 2012. Rahman Moosa, who has been doing this work for 30 years agrees, “I believe it’s the tradition. Our folks have been in the craft since the old times. Many islands lost interest in it because there were very few markets to sell them.”
No doubt that the craft industry of the Maldives is flourishing. A more delightful treat that these crafts include cultural crafts such as lacquer work. “ It’s a LOT easier now! Back in those days, we didn’t have electric motors to spin the wood. Due to the ease of the process, there has been a surprising number of entries into this.” But not all obstacles were overcome. Mohamed Usman started when he was 13. “Thanks to the tourism industry, there’s no problem in finding buyers, but sometimes getting wood can be a worry.”
One great example is Mvlacquer: a team selling various lacquerware in Thulhaadhoo. From lacquered pen drives to game crafts to traditional boats (dhoani), these guys sell wonders!
Lacquer art is extremely popular among tourists that visit the country and it is often a highly demanded souvenir. These beautiful hand-crafted pieces add a stunning touch of decoration to your home. It can also be used for various purposes such as a container, a vase and more.
“Glad to see so many locals and families getting into it.” With the evoked fondness of Maldivians in cultural crafts and the favourable tourism industry, these experts believe that lacquer work will continue to grow in B.Thulhaadhoo and hopefully, ignite in rest of the Maldives as well.