The humble Sikki grass that grows in the marshy areas in Mithila, Bihar, is transformed by women into a range of objects for ritualistic, and everyday use. The grass is dyed in specific colours, and creatively used along with the natural golden to create objects steeped in the distinct Madhubani aesthetic.
Using the ancient method of coiling, the needle-like takua is the only tool used to craft a variety of objects. “The products are strengthened by creating a base of strong moonj grass, which also grows abundantly in the region. The craft is traditionally passed down from mother to daughter; well-crafted items used in the house display the skills of a girl, and become part of her dowry.''
Figures of deities using Sikki grass are made for worship, as well as for votive offerings during festivals. Saileshpuja, the only festival of the Moosahar tribe, involves a wide range of colourful Sikki products that are used in rituals. Toys, table mats, coasters, traditional Ganesh masks, and of late, even mobile phone covers are made for urban markets as far flung as Guwahati, Chennai, and Mumbai.