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The origin of basket making is lost in the mist of antiquity. It is perhaps one of the oldest crafts in the world, which still holds the imagination of the primitive as well as the advanced man. The perishable raw material used in basketry is as varied as are the types of finished products as well as the large varied as are the types of finished products as well as the large variety of uses to which these products are put. The basic function of a basket is that of a receptacle for holding, storing and carrying various commodities. Such a use suits an agricultural primitive people best. Whereas the primary use of basketry still continues, the changing pattern of the societies and more ingenious basket-makers have invented several other uses for their products. For example, in Kashimir this craft is being utilized for making had-fans, soft prayer-mats for the mosques and chick for doors. But be it in the West or the East, old or new, there is surprisingly no substantial change in the techniques of weaving baskets to ths day. Basket weavers everywhere in the world usually prefer to use for the raw material such wild plants in jungles or on river banks which require little or no processing. In Kashmir too the art of basketry had existed since the time of immemorial. It had existed in all parts of the country and is certainly the country's most common and most popular craft. In form, most of the Kashmiri basketry presents a complex of diverse shapes and sizes and comprises circular, spherical or cylindrical artifacts of caskets and containers. Snake-charmers baskets are the most colourful and common. They are used for keeping Chapaatis, for storing vegetables or carrying loads for storing trinkets, clothes unspun-cotton etc. Willow rushes that grow plentifully in marshes and lakes in Kashmir are used to make charmingly quaint objects, ranging from shopping baskets and lampshades to tables and chairs, all generally in expensive. To increase their life-span, unvarni
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