We are going to know about the Handicrafts of India. Handicraft is about processing materials by hand with hand tools. The results can be helpful things or decorative things. The materials utilized in the product are natural, industrially processed or maybe recycled. The models of the product are ancient, revised traditional or fashionable. Handicraft is deeply frozen in society and contributes to preserving and sending traditions.
Clay Handicrafts or Pottery
With its origination during the Indus Valley Civilization, clay craft or pottery is said to be one of the most primitive forms of handicrafts in India. People engaged in pottery are called “Kumhaars”. Besides its world famous Terracotta form, pottery has got different forms like red ware, grey ware and black ware. Uttar Pradesh is known for its painted black wares.
Terracotta means “baked earth” in Italian. Terracotta is the type of clay used to produce terracotta pottery on a potter’s wheel. The potter at a full tilt rotates the wheel with his hands and gives the ball of clay a shape. The pot or object, after being left to dry is kept on top of combustible materials in a pit and fired. Mostly charcoal, wood or coconut shells are used for firing and the temperatures may range from 600 to 1000 deg C.
The Jhabua and Bastra tribes of Madhya Pradesh are known for their tradition of making terracotta pottery. West Bengal is also popular for Terracotta products.
Dokra, the oldest form of handicraft is known for its traditional simplicity. This tribal handicraft originated in Madhya Pradesh. The other states involved in the making of such handicrafts are West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha. Dhokra is famous for its unique items portraying folk characters
Being a producer of bamboo, handicrafts made from bamboo are one of the eco-friendly crafts in India. The varied items made from bamboo are baskets, dolls, toys, chalani, furniture, mats, wall-hangings, umbrella handles, crossbows, khorahi, kula, dukula, kathi, jewellery boxes and many more. Bamboo handicrafts are mostly made in West Bengal, Assam and Tripura.
Bone & Horn
Originated in the state of Odisha, the bone and horn handicrafts are famous for creating birds and animal figures, which seem real and alive. Besides, goods like pen stands, ornaments, cigarette cases, table lamps, pepper and salt sets, chess sets, napkin rings, laughing Buddha etc. are prepared in Odisha, Karnataka, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh.
Durability of brass items adds to the fame of brassware. The manufacturing of brassware is mainly done in Rajasthan. Items made of brass like crawling Krishna, Lord Ganesha’s figure in different postures, vases, table tops, perforated lamps, ornament boxes, hukkas, toys, wine glasses, plates, fruit bowls and many more are extensively used in many Indian houses till now. These artisans are famously known as “Kansaris”.
Jute craftsmen have created a worldwide niche in the field of jute handicrafts. The huge range of jute crafts includes bags, office stationeries, bangles and other jewellery, footwear, wall-hangings and many more. West Bengal, Assam and Bihar, being the leading jute producers, lead the jute handicrafts market in India.
Vibrant coloured papers are combined together to form varied crafts like kites, masks, decorative flowers, lamp shades, puppets, hand fans etc. Papier Mache, developed in the Mughal Era is even a famous form of paper handicraft in India. This craft industry is mainly located in Delhi, Rajgir, Patna, Gaya, Awadh, Ahmedabad, and Allahabad.
Prevalence of rock carving, one of the primitive rock art can be seen in the states of Rajasthan, Jaipur, Odisha and Nagpur. Rajasthan, Jaipur and Madhya Pradesh are famous for marble stone carvings. Green coloured stone art is the specialty of Madhya Pradesh, whereas, Patharkatti is the unique rock craft of Gaya.
Pashmina is a fine type of wool. Its textiles are first woven in Kashmir. These shawls are made from a fine type of cashmere wool and are then transported to the valley of Kashmir in northern India, where it is entirely hand processed. All steps from combing and spinning, to weaving and finishing, is entirely carried out by hand by dedicated craftsmen and women. The major centre of Pashmina fabric production is the old district of Srinagar.
The northern states of India have a rich tradition of the woodwork. Regions in Punjab are famous for its exquisite wooden furniture. Kashmir is famous for its artefacts made from the walnut trees. The artisans of Chhattisgarh specialise in wooden crafts like masks, doors, window frames and sculptures. Jharkhand is famous for its wooden toys which are always in a pair. The wood carvings of Goa are an aesthetic blend of Portuguese and Indian cultures, and the designs are primarily floral, animal and human figures.
There are three kinds of shell from which shell handicrafts are made in India ? conch shells, tortoiseshell and seashell. Different kinds of goods like bangles, forks, decorative bowls, lockets, curtains, chandeliers, mirror frames, table mats, etc. are the products of shell handicrafts. In general, the places located on the seashore like Gulf of Mannar, Goa, Odisha, etc. are the places for shell handicraft and these art pieces are found in abundance here at a lower price.
Zardozi embroidery work involves making elaborate designs, using gold and silver threads along with studded pearls and precious stones. Intricate designs in gold are made of silk, velvet and even tissue materials famous in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Initially, the embroidery was done with pure silver wires and real gold leaves. However, today, craftsmen make use of a combination of copper wire, with a golden or silver polish, and a silk thread. This embroidery work is mainly a speciality of Lucknow, Bhopal.
Shola (Sola pith) or the Indian cork is a milky-white sponge-wood which is carved into delicate and beautiful objects of art. Sola plant grows in the marshy waterlogged areas of West Bengal, Assam and in the eastern marshy Gangetic plains.
Patachitra and pat-er gaan are the two aspects of a unique cultural tradition of Bengal that draws inspiration from the mythological tales of India. Patua, a community of itinerant scroll painters and singers in West Bengal, paint stories in picture frames on long scrolls of cloth. This painting is known as patachitra. Patua artists use natural vegetable colours made from vegetables, fruits and flowers.