Sikki is an art that is hugely found and practiced in the Mithilanchal region of Bihar.
Previously, this art form was practiced especially by the women to make daily life items like chattai, Daura, Dalia but over time it started to focus on the entertainment of the children and came to be known as sikki craft. Soon children were taught to make dolls and toys out of sikki. The marriages of these dolls were also done with great pomp. The older women with the help of these dolls taught the girls how to run a family, thus highlighting how the craft became necessary from entertainment to daily life.
The process of making sikki craft involves patience and creativity. Firstly the sikki grass is cut from the root and then washed with water. The remaining grass is then shaved and cut with a knife. The sikki made after this is mixed with different colors. The grass doesn’t have high potency so Munj grass is used alongside to provide strength. Khar is another such grass that is used to make sikki craft. Khar is wrapped and a golden layer of sikki is provided on top of it and then with the help of a needle, known as ‘tukuya’, the artisans attach colorful sikki with each other to make the entire product.
Over time the process of making sikki craft has changed a lot. Presently, it is seen on canvas which is tough to carry out as making pictures with sikki had never been done before but with the help of patience and hard work unique pictures are made with sikki. With the help of a surgical blade, the stem of the grass is turned thin and smooth by peeling it. Thereafter, sketches of gods and great legends are done with the help of favibond on the hardboard, and then the sikkis’s are pasted on top of it, thus providing it with desired shapes.
Currently, Raiyam village in the Jhanjharpur block of Madhubani district and Rampur village in the Panadol block are famous for this art. The handicrafts made out of this art represent a unique culture of a particular region. Sikki handicrafts not only produce decorative items but also daily life items and include economic and traditional values along with it. Art has hugely changed over time and today is a source of income for many artisans.