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Art and Craft

Indian Art and Craft – Craft Forms

Indian Art and Craft – Craft Forms

Craft forms in India are often specific to regions. Each region has its own specialties. Main craft works include metal work, wood work, textiles and fabric, jewelry, pottery, cane and bamboo products, clay and terracotta articles. Hand woven rugs, silk etc. are famous just like jewelry made of silver, gold and wood. Tribal jewellery are mostly made out of wood.

Many traditional craft forms of India are dying due to the mechanization and modernization. Let us look into some of the traditional craft forms of India. We will have details about individual items going forward, in separate articles.

Jaipur is famous for its enameled brass items, Hyderabad for gold and silver, Rajasthan for its woolen items and jewellery. Different states in India are famous for different kinds of craft forms. Pashmina Shawls, emeralds, silk and wool carpets are specialties of Kashmir. Brass and bell metal lamps and articles, toys made out of coconut shells and wood, hand woven textiles, coir mats etc. are famous in Kerala. Goa is known for earthenware potteries and handicrafts, decorative items made out of sea shells. Kanchipuram is famous for its Silk Sarees. West Bengal is known for terracotta and pottery handicrafts. Cane and Bamboo products, tribal weaving are specialties of Assam. Maharashtra offers specialties like fine muslin and hand-loom silk.

Jewelry items from India include ankle bracelets, rings (toe and nose), necklaces in gold and silver. It is an investment as well as for ornamentation for Indians. They are symbols of family wealth.

Aranmula Kannadi (Mirror) is Kerala specialty. It is a handmade mirror, produce of a small town Aranmula in Kerala, made out of a metal alloy. These front surface reflection mirrors eliminate secondary reflections and aberrations which are common in back surface mirrors. The origin of the Aranmula Kannadi is linked to the Parthasarathy Temple in Aranmula.

Pure cotton hand loom products such as Dhotis, Lungis, Set Mundu (traditional two-piece costume of women in Kerala), Sarees are other specialties of Kerala.

Toys and Dolls from Channapatna in Karnataka are traditional wooden craft. Kondapalli toys are specialties of Andhra Pradesh. Tanjavur dolls are handmade bobble head dancing dolls, traditional work of Tanjavur. Art Plates of Tanjavur, made of silver, bronze and copper are valuable gift items.

Bronze icons are specialties of Tamil Nadu especially from Swamimalai. They are idols and statues made out of bronze. The artisans are known as Sthapathis, traditionally from the Vishwakarma community, practicing metal casting form generations together.

Pottery work of Uttar Pradesh are famous. Khujra Pottery of Uttar Pradesh are one of the main export items. Blue Pottery is a traditional, eye catching craft item of Jaipur.

Chappals made out of leather, known as Kolhapuri Chappals are known for design and durability. They are one of the specialties of Maharashtra.

Chattisgarh is well known for its metal crafts and Dhokra art, which are known as Tribal art forms of India. Dhokra art works are mainly metal casting of religious images, horses and elephants.

Traditional Sankheda Furniture, a specialty of Gujarat are colourful teak wood furniture, treated with lacquer and painted in bright shades of gold and maroon. It is made in the Sankheda village located about 45 kilometres from Vadodara and hence the name. In recent years, the colours have changed to different shades of black, blue, green, ivory, copper and silver.

Pictures used are for illustration only. Credit: Hari Prasad, Rajesh Dangi, Shilpa Elizabeth, Sudipta Mallik

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


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