Coir Rope

To make a coir rope, or roanu, the husk of the ripe coconut is buried in the beach, within reach of the lapping waves, and left to soak for three to four weeks. It is then dug up and pounded – and the fibres extracted. The fibres are then washed with seawater and left to dry in the sun. Once dry it is woven into rope by hand.

The size of the roanu depends on its use. Traditionally, it was commonly used in everyday life with boats, during construction of traditional houses, in the making of the traditional hammock or joali, etc.

The modern use of roanu, is mainly ornamental, although still stemming from its ancient functions. It is used, chiefly along with coconut thatch, to invoke a truly Maldivian atmosphere, in some building design. Modern design elements, such as pillars, are sometimes wrapped or held together by roanu to evoke a sense of retaining one’s heritage while still embracing modernity.

Roanu is not merely ornamental however; it is still widely used on traditional sea vessels and still extensively used in joalis. Roanu is also used in the production of the more modern Maldivian souvenirs – an ancient, functional, art form adopted to a more modern, yet still functional, purpose.

Traditionally, women are most involved in the making of roanu, or roanu veshun, although it is extensively used as part of the more ‘industrial work’ performed by men – such as house building, etc.

Look through our catalogue of Roanu products.