Concept: Crafts in Danger
- Crafts, or handicrafts, are artisanal pieces of decorative objects made either with hands or by using simple tools.
- Most of these handicrafts in India belong to the cottage industry.
- The government of India has taken initiatives to set up markets for the sale of handicrafts and encourage people to preserve such art forms.
Endangered crafts of India:
Due to modernisation and cheaper alternatives, different crafts of India are on the verge of extinction. Let us look at some dying art forms of India—
- Woodcraft is a traditional handicraft in the northern states of India.
- Many artisans from the tribal areas of Chattisgarh, Meghalaya, and Jharkhand are skilled in making masks, wooden frames, sculptures and toys.
- Wood carving is a type of art that is done in south India.
- These carvings are mostly done on sandalwood.
- Cutlery, paper knives, jewellery boxes, and animal and human figures are made by wood carvings.
- Handmade pottery is a dying craft all over India.
- The art of pottery dates back to the Indus Valley civilisation.
- North India is famous for its variety of pottery designs in orange, brown and light red colours.
- Many cities in Rajasthan are renowned for their painted colourful pottery crafts.
- Bikaner is famous for its painted pottery, and Jaipur is for its blue pottery.
3. Leather craft:
- Leather craft is an ancient craft in India.
- In the past, leather was used to make clothes and shoes.
- Nowadays, leather is used to make wallets, purses, bags, saddles, etc.
- Maharashtra is famous for its leather-made Kolhapuri chappals.
- The leather industry is facing a sharp decline because people have stopped using animal-derived products.
- Instead, many alternatives to leather have come to the market, and those are doing better business than the leather industries.
4. Jute craft:
- Although jute is an excellent alternative to plastic, the jute industry has declined in the past few years.
- Jute is made in the jute mills and is used to make different handicrafts. Some items made from jute that we see in the markets are—wall hangings, bags, table mats, showpieces, stationaries, footwear etc.
- Jute is highly durable than plastics and is also eco-friendly.
- However, jute did not gain much popularity in India because of its high price.
- West Bengal, Assam and Bihar are the leading jute producers in India.
5. Shell craft:
- Shell craft is integral to Indian culture in and around the coastal areas.
- It is done with conch shells, seashells and tortoise shells.
- These shells are used to make mirrors, curtains, wall hangings, table mats, ornaments etc.
- These products are sold in the local markets of different coastal cities like Puri, Vishakhapatnam, Port Blair, Trivandrum and many more.
- Shell crafts are not long-lasting; people buy them as souvenirs while travelling to popular beach destinations.
- Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc mainly used to make utensils and decorative items.
- Those who deal with brass-made handicrafts are known as Kansharis.
- Many places in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are famous for brassware.
7. Bamboo craft:
- Bamboo handicrafts are made using bamboo shoots and are one of the eco-friendly handicrafts in India.
- These handicrafts are primarily made in West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and other north-eastern states.
- Bamboo shoots are cut, carved and coloured to make varieties of designs.
- These are used to prepare baskets, dolls, wall hangings, crossbows, jewellery and many more.
- Zardozi is a type of embroidery work famous in Uttar Pradesh.
- It is all about elaborate designs made with gold or silver threads.
- Nowadays, silver or gold polish copper wires, along with studs and pearls, are used to do this work.
- Intricate zardozi embroidery designs are made on mulmul, silk and other fabrics.
9. Carpet weaving:
- Carpet weaving is a famous craft in north India, mainly in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
- Silk carpets woven in Srinagar are pretty popular but very expensive.
- In many towns of Kashmir, hand-knotted carpets are woven by craftsmen.
- Pashmina is a fabric made with cashmere wool and mostly woven in Kashmir to make shawls and dresses.
- Weaving pashmina is entirely done by hand.
- Pashmina fabrics are made in vibrant colours, and they also have intricate floral designs on them.
Artisan: A person skilled in a particular craft.
Eco-friendly: Something that is not harmful to the environment.
Alloy: A metal made by combining two or more metallic elements to provide further strength.
Did You Know?
- India is famous for its crafts on the tusks of elephants. The ivory carvers of the states of Bengal, Jaipur and Delhi make objects such as processional elephants, bullock carts, book covers, sandals, palanquins, frames, etc. Kerala has an ancient tradition of painting on ivory.
- Shital pati mats are very famous in West Bengal and Bangladesh. These mats feel cold during the scorching summers and are made from murta plants.