Dumbara Rata Kalala, Knuckles Range Mats

Dumbara Rata Kalala (knuckles Range Mats) that are used as wall hangings, tapestries or cushion covers are made by a community of traditional weavers living in Dumbara Valley (knuckles Range) in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. The weavers are the descendants of the suppliers of ornamented mats and other fibre-made items to the royal palace in the times of Kandyan kingdom.

Dumbara Rata Kalalas are woven by both men and women as a family-based livelihood activity recognised now by UNESCO as a world heritage. Using the fibre of the leaves of the hana plant (Agave vera) that are separated by hand, washed, sun-dried, and dyed, the craftspeople weave the mats on a simple loom affixed on the floor or the ground.

Knowledge and skills involved in the making of these mats that are ornamented with motifs and designs derived from Buddhist and Hindu mythology and that display a superb workmanship and refinement represent an important part of the intangible cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.