Jaapi is made of tightly woven bamboo and/or cane and tokou paat (Trachycarpus martianus) a large, palm leaf. The primary use of the taku paat palm is roofing and jaapi. The name, "jaapi" comes from "jaap", a bundle of taku leaves. In the past, jaapis were very important for ordinary Assamese while decorative jaapis were worn by people of high station (royal and high class families). Decorative sorudaya jaapis are made with intricate cloth designs (primarily red, white, green, blue, and black) that integrated into the weaving of the jaapi. The jaapi has been worn since the days when the great Chinese traveler, Hiuen Tsang came to Assam. Visitors were welcomed with jaapi decorated with colourful designs and motifs.
The jaapi is worn on the head as a protection against the elements, offered as a sign of respect in ceremonies, and placed as a decorative item around the house (especially near the front door as a welcome sign). The jaapi has been integrated in a style of Bihu dance and as a symbol of Assam.