Description of wealth of Tripura's bamboo & cane culture :
The hilly frontier state has a unique tradition in arts and crafts, sculpture and architecture, textiles, wood-carving, basketry and cane and bamboo work. Bamboo and Cane is one of the most important craft of the state. The crafts spread all over the state with concentrations in the sub-divisions of Kailasahar, Dharmanagar, Khowai, Sadar, Sooamura and Belonia besides Agartala town. The articles made include mats, bags, moorahs, fruit-baskets and vases. The Craft Teachers Institute (CTTI) set up by the State Government has done commendable work in this field.
The State Department of Industries runs a Design Extension Centre at Agartala and the All India Handicrafts Board had established a Bamboo and Cane Development Institute, which has taken up research in the chemical treatment of bamboo. It also provides an advanced course of training in bamboo work, seasoning, preservation and craft design. The Agartala Jail too had developed furniture items. At Agartala, a private registered society and several other units have taken up the production of popular handicraft items, specializing in bamboo screens, lamp stands and table-mats.
A large number of structures using bamboo as a primary material are built in the plains of Tripura. These structures may be houses, granaries, shops, workspaces or even large warehouses. They are of lightweight construction to withstand severe earthquakes; at the same time, they are also wind resistant. The state of Tripura is famous for her bamboo screens made from split bamboo, so finely woven that they look almost like ivory. They are delicately appliqued with coloured bamboo chips.
Bamboo matting is a thriving industry in Tripura. Bamboo matting may be sold by the metre or converted into products. The cost per metre of the matting depends on the fineness of bamboo splits, the width of the mat and the number and colour of warp threads used per 25 mm. A number of products such as fans, lampshades, handbags and various decorative items are made from converting bamboo matting. The simplest is a wall-hanging made from a 600 mm long mat, with a picture painted on it in oil colours. Bamboo splints stiffen the ends of the hanging. Another decorative product made from waste strips of matting are flower sticks. Bamboo table-mats are one of the most popular products. They are woven on the loom in the required length and width. Finer masts have a higher labour cost. Some sets of mats have decorative oil paintings executed by the local artists. A tea cosy and tray makes up another product. Semi-circular and circular fans are made from bamboo matting using the unidirectional flexible quality of the mat. Lampshades are also made from bamboo matting. It is beautiful when it is seen against the light as the texture of the mat is accentuated. Handbags of various shapes and sizes are made from bamboo matting. These generally have stiff sides with rigid construction. In addition to products made from woven bamboo mats, several other products are made at Agartala. These include turned bamboo vases and lamp stands, carved and shaped containers such as mugs and pencil holders as well as a host other novelty fabricated from shaped bamboo splints. The main emphasis here is on fabricating decorative products meant for sale in upcountry markets through various handicrafts emporia.