Maldives Arts & Crafts

The Maldives are home to some of the most skilled craftsmen in the world. Though the Maldivian arts were born more from necessity than from pleasure, tourism has turned Maldivian art into a hot commodity.

Maldives Art

About Maldives Arts

The nation of Maldives is home to more than 1,100 islands, each just as culturally rich as another. It is often referred to as the ‘last paradise on Earth’ and it is very easy to see why. Even today, Maldivian people continue to live off the land and stick to their traditional ways. Because the way the Maldivian natives have lived for centuries has changed very little, craftsmanship is very important to their culture. Trades and skills were passed down from one generation to the next over several centuries, and this eventually led to the perfection of Maldives art as it is known today. Tourists flock to the Maldives to view and purchase different types of arts and crafts.

Wooden Lacquer Ware 

One of the more popular forms of Maldives art, wooden lacquer ware, is a very important part of Maldivian history. Wooden lacquer ware is simply a piece of nativwood that has been hollowed and transformed into bowls, baskets and boxes that are just as beautiful as they are functional. Even today, wooden lacquer ware is an essential part of everyday Maldivian life and has a very specific task. The beauty of these pieces cannot be denied, however. Ornately decorated pieces of wooden lacquer ware can be found all over the islands and many locals are happy to sell their products to tourists. Maldivian wooden lacquer ware is sought after by collectors all over the world.

ThunduKunaa Mats

In the GaafuDhaalu Atoll, on the island of Gadhdhoo, women weave the increasingly popular ThunduKunaa mats that are a fine example of traditional Maldives arts. The reeds used to construct these mats are gathered on the nearby island of Fioari and then returned to Gadhdhoo to be dried and then dyed in a wide variety of natural colors. Once the reeds are ready for weaving, they are turned over to master weavers who excel in creating very intricate patterns and designs in the form of a mat. These mats may be small–much like a placemat–or even the size of a mattress. In Maldivian culture, there is a distinct functionality for these mats, yet tourists visiting the Maldives find them beautiful enough to use as a wall hanging.

Traditional Maldivian Dhoni

Boat Building

Boats, known as dhonis in the local language, are one of the finest of all Maldivian arts. Highly skilled Maldivian crafters do not use any plans or designs to construct their dhonis; instead, they rely on the size, type and pliability of the wood to give them direction. Dhonis are not constructed as tourist attractions, however. These boats are still used just as actively as they were thousands of years ago. Because the islands of Maldives are situated in such a way that allows for easy access to the Indian Ocean, sturdy boats have always been a necessity for Maldivian people. Maldives art is known all around the world for its beauty, splendor and originality. Although the Maldivian people craft these wonders as part of their everyday culture, their beauty and charm remains unsurpassed by any other nation. You can of course learn more about Maldives art during your stay. Our guest houses are located in real local Maldivian islands where the culture of the islands is all around.