In this age of mass production and abundance, handicrafts have stood the test of time and are a reason to celebrate the uniqueness of our culture and traditions. Indians, dating back to the early ages of civilizations, have developed handicrafts as a means of living. These handmade products are unique in their own style and every hand crafted product tells a story in a language of its own. Regional Handicrafts were developed using the materials available in that area using styles corresponding to their way of life. The hand crafted diyas from Tamil Nadu are very different from those made in Uttar Pradesh. Handicrafts are a part of our evolution and have molded and shaped our country’s rich cultural heritage.
The exquisite art of weaving that differs from state to state is a story spoken without words. The Phulkari of the Punjab or the Chanderi of Madhya Pradesh or the Kota weaving style born in Rajasthan are all examples of hand looms spawned by the people of that region.
The well-known walnut-wood carvings of Kashmir, the Puri wooden masks, the intricately carved doors and windows of Himachal Pradesh, Mysore’s carved rosewood, the Miraj musical instruments of Maharashtra… every region has developed its own unique style of carvings adding on to the long list of exquisite wooden handicrafts.
Brass sculptures, bronze artifacts, copper wares, designed silver wares… India is one among the largest manufacturers of intricately designed metal crafts. The dark and beautiful bidriwares unparalleled in their richness or the chamleveenamel patterns of Lucknow and Varanasi are treasures known only to the Indians.
The famous blue pottery of Jaipur or the majestic terracotta horses or the beautiful dancing dolls of Tanjore or even the unique papier-mâché artifacts of Kashmir; India has come a long way in its pottery styles.
These coloured stories frozen on canvases or on scrolls or even on walls and vases are artistic expressions synonymous to the lives of the people belonging to a particular region. The royal Tanjore paintings of Tamil Nadu, the magnificent Mughal paintings, the pattachitra styles of Odisha or the Rajputana legacies; these paintings come in varied hues and styles emphasized only by the strokes and materials used to create them.
Jewelry in India has a deep emotional connect and the styles used in making them speaks volumes about the royal legacies and fashion statements. Tarkashi style inspired from the Greek and patronized by the Kashmiris, Meenakari work inspired by the Mughals, Kundan and Jadau jewelry patronized by the Rajputs, Thewa crafts practiced in Chittor, or the very beautiful Vadaseri style of South India famously known as temple jewelry are all exquisite arts in jewelry making.
Agra’s marble carvings or the beautifully sculpted granite’s of South India are examples of spectacular handiwork of Indian sculptors. Right from huge life-like sculptures to small, palm sized idols are available in different stones. Stone carved plates, boxes, lamps… you’d be amazed by the number of things that could be carved out of stone.
Right from ancient times, Indians have developed unique art forms and these valuable crafts have been our rich legacy unrivaled in its uniqueness and peerless in its beauty. A handicraft product is not just and art form but a part of the person making it. It is time we embrace this royal history of ours and patronize hand-crafted products much to the delight of our mute yet gracefully expressive artisans.