Handicrafts of Rajasthan

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Rajasthan Current Affairs Yearbook-2019

Ancient, Medieval and Modern History of Rajasthan

Geography of Rajasthan

Art, Culture and Heritage of Rajasthan

Polity and Administration of Rajasthan

Economy of Rajasthan

Handicraft of Rajasthan

Sculpture Art in Rajasthan:   Sculpture Art in Rajasthan started from Maurya Period. Different areas in Rajasthan are famous for Different Color Stones. A state that has so many varieties of stones is bound to have progressive sculpture art.

Different Stones:

  • Dungarpur – Green Black
  • Bharatpur – Pink
  • Makrana – White
  • Jodhpur – Badami/Brown/Buff
  • Dholpur – Red
  • Rajsamand – White with tint of Black
  • Jalore – Granite
  • Kota – Slate
  • Sculpture art of Sangmarmar Stone – Jaipur
  • Meenakari on Sangmarmar stone – Jaipur
  • Picchikari on Sangmarmar stone- Bhilwara
  • Sangmarmar mines – Makrana
  • : Som pura Caste people of Dungarpur & Talwara(In Banswara)

Terracotta: Terracotta is clay-like earthenware ceramic that can be either glazed or unglazed. In addition to being used for flower pots, terracotta is also often used for water and sewage pipes, bricks, and sculptures. The word “terracotta” comes from the Italian words for “baked earth.”

Molela near Nathdwara is especially famous for its Terracotta toys. Harji Village in Jalore famous for Terracotta Horses in Nagaur district Banuravta Village

Blue Pottery:

Blue Pottery is widely recognized as a traditional craft of Jaipur, though it is Turko-Persian in origin. The name ‘blue pottery’ comes from the eye-catching blue dye used to color the pottery.

Jaipur blue pottery, made out of a similar frit material to Egyptian faience, is glazed and low-fired. No clay is used: the ‘dough’ for the pottery is prepared by mixing quartz stone powder, powdered glass, Multani Mitti (Fuller’s Earth), borax, gum and water. Another source cites Katira Gond powder (a gum) and saaji (soda bicarbonate) as ingredients. Some of this pottery is semi-transparent and mostly decorated with animal and bird motifs. Being fired at very low temperature makes them fragile. The range of items is primarily decorative, such as ashtrays, vases, coasters, small bowls and boxes for trinkets. The colour palette is restricted to blue derived from the cobalt oxide, green from the copper oxide and white, though other non-conventional colours, such as yellow and brown are sometimes included.

The use of blue glaze on pottery is an imported technique, first developed by Mongol artisans who combined Chinese glazing technology with Persian decorative arts. This technique travelled east to India with early Turkic conquests in the 14th century. During its infancy, it was used to make tiles to decorate mosques, tombs and palaces in Central Asia. Later, following their conquests and arrival in India, the Mughals began using them in India. Gradually the blue glaze technique grew beyond an architectural accessory to Indian potters. From there, the technique travelled to the plains of Delhi and in the 17th century went to Jaipur.

Other accounts of the craft state that blue pottery came to Jaipur in the early 19th century under the ruler Sawai Ram Singh II (1835 – 1880).The Jaipur king had sent local artisans to Delhi to be trained in the craft. Some specimens of older ceramic work can be seen in the Rambagh Palace, where the fountains are lined with blue tiles. However, by the 1950s, blue pottery had all but vanished from Jaipur, when it was re-introduced through the efforts of the muralist and painter Kripal Singh Shekhawat, with the support of patrons such as Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay and Rajmata Gayatri Devi.

Today, blue pottery is an industry that provides livelihood to many people in Jaipur. The traditional designs have been adapted, and now, apart from the usual urns, jars, pots and vases, you can find tea sets, cups and saucers, plates and glasses, jugs, ashtrays and napkin rings.

Key Points:

  • Origin – First developed by Mongol artisans who combined Chinese glazing technology with Persian decorative arts and with Turks & Mughals conquests came to India, Rajasthan – Jaipur is famous for these arts.
  • It is started in Rajasthan during the reign of Raja Man Singh-I but the main credit for development goes to – Sawai Ram Singh II (1835-80).
  • However by 1950, Blue Pottery vanished. Post Independence redeveloped through efforts of Kripal Singh Shekhawat. His efforts were recognized by GOI, received Padamshri (1974).

Ivory Works (Haathi dant): it is a hard smooth ivory colored dentine that makes up most of the tusks of elephants and walruses Items include: Jewellery, Powder boxes, jewellery boxes, cufflinks, lamps and artistic decorations, idols of gods and goddess, brooches. Udaipur district in Rajasthan is most famous for ivory works. Jodhpur is famous for Black, green & Red strips bangles.

Meenakari: Enameling is the art of colorings or decorating a metal surface by attaching or fusing pieces of different mineral substances, over it. Enameling is considered the most alluring and technical of all metal decorations. In the past enameling was only done on gold, but presently it is done other metals like silver, copper etc.

The art of decorating metal with enameling or Meenakari was alien to India and was introduced by the Mughals. Raja Man Singh of Amber brought Meenakari to Rajasthan at the turn of the 16th century. Man Singh brought skillful minakars from the Mughal palace at Lahore and established them in Jaipur, which became the center of Meenakari.

The technique of Meenakari requires a high degree of skill and application. The piece of metal on which meenakari is to be done is fixed on a lac stick. Delicate designs of flowers, birds, fish etc are etched or engraved on it. This leads to the creation of walls or grooves, to hold color. Enamel dust of required color is then poured into the grooves and each color is fired individually. The heat of the furnace melts the color and the colored liquid gets spread equally into the groove. This process is repeated with each color. As each color is individually fired, colors, which are most heat resistant, are applied first, as they are re-fired with each additional color. As a rule, white is the first color applied and red the last. After the last color has been fired, the object is cooled and burnished or polished with agate. The depth of the grooves filled with different colors determines the play of light. Both Silver and Gold can be used as a base for meenakari.

  • A limited number of colors, like gold, blue, green and yellow, stick to silver, whereas all available colors can be applied to gold, making it the preferred medium of enamellers.
  • The meenakari often works with a team of craftsmen. As meenakari is generally done on the reverse side of Kundan jewellery, the meenakari has to work with the goldsmith, the engraver or ghaaria, the designer or chitteria and jadiya who applies the gems on the Kundan or gold.
  • The finished produced is a marvel of the expertise of these different craftsmen and their techniques.

Jaipur is the main center of meenakari. Traditional Mughal colours like red, green and white, dominate the art of enameling from Jaipur. The rich, ruby red color used here is highly sought after.

Nathdwara, Bikaner and Udaipur are also famous for their silver meenakari. Pratapgarh is known for glass enameling. Delhi and Banaras are also important centers for meenakari.

  • Jaipur is worldwide famous for Meenakari on Jewellary.
  • Meenakari Art was imported from Lahore for first time under the reign of Man Singh-I (1589-1614)
  • Nathdwara is also famous for meenakari and the Raitwali area of Kota is known for Meenakari work is done on glasses. Bikaner & Pratapgarh also has significant skills in meenakari work.

Usta Art: The unique form of paintings on camel hide Usta Art came from Iran and flourished in the Mughal durbars and inter-mingled with the Indian culture, Raja Rai Singh, the then king of Bikaner, brought nawab Usta artists to his kingdom and the Usta artisans of Bikaner developed a new stream of Usta art. Their descendents manifested its beauty in the form of Bikaner’s fabulous Junagarh Fort’s Anoop palace, Chandra palace, karan palace and Phool Mahal. The art is still thriving and to this day, Usta craftsmen can be seen practicing the art, handed down by their ancestors. Mohammad Haneef Usta Mr. Ayub Usta, Mr. Iqbal, Mr. Altaf, Mr. Javed Hasan, All have carved a niche in Usta art. . In 1989 Mo.Haneef was honored with state award for his excellence in Manowati Gold embossing. He is being awarded National award for his excellence in Manowati Gold Nakkashi. At present you can find Usta work at Rampuria havelis, Ajmer Dargah, Delhi Nizamuddin Oliya and Mazaar of Amir Khusro the Junagarh fort. During the British rule, leather goods came in use for embossing. After the emboding, it is painted and gold is applied where ever required. Then the ink is used with a brush made of squirrel hair to fill the design with different colours. The Usta art of Bikaner is world famous for its multidimensional forms like meenakari on camel hide, golden meenakari and paintings in palaces and havelis of Bikaner. Mohd. Hanif Usta is a leading Usta artisan of the state. He has inherited this art form from his forefathers and has created excellent pieces of art displayed on camel hide, stone and metal.

Apart from Usta art, there are varied forms of miniature paintings that are quite popular. This art came in India with Usta artists from Iran brought by the emperors and flourished in the Mughal period in courts and palaces. A group of seven Usta artists paintings can be seen even today in the rooms of the Junagarh fort. During the British rule, leather goods came in use for embossing. After the emboding, if is painted and gold is applied where ever required. Then the ink is used with a brush made of squirrel hai to fill the design with different colours. The Usta art of Bikaner is world famous for its multidimensional forms like meenakari on camel hide, golden meenakari and painting in Usta is a leading Usta artisan of the state. He has inherited this art form from his forefathers and has created excellent pieces of art displayed on camel hide, stone and metal. Apart from Usta art, there are varied forms of miniature paintings that are quite popular with contributions from eminent artists like shree Mahaveer Swai Ram & Narayan Swami.

  1. Golden Meenakari work on Camel leather is known as Usta Art.
  • The art was developed by Padam Shri Hissayamuddin Usta from Bikaner.
  • Camel hide training Center in Bikaner is an institution for Usta Art.

Lac Works

LAC, A Resinous substance produced by the female lac insect found in abundance in the forests of Rajasthan, is formed into a variety of jewellery items, chief among them the chudi or bangle. Although all lac jewellery is regarded as propitious and is worn especially on auspicious occasions, lac bangles are also worn to signify that the wearer is married. The bangles are available in a stunning array of colours and are also frequently studded (naqqashi worked) with glass pieces, bright stones, and beads. The traditional bangles are plain and ornamented with Lehriya, wave-like patterns of diagonal lines. Motifs such as the patta (straight lines) or phooldar (floral) are etched onto the surface of multiple layers of many hued lac coats, thus revealing the colour embedded in the initial layers.

  • Sawai madhopur, Laxmangarh (Sikar), Indragarh (Bundi) – Lac work on wooden toys.
  • Jaipur, Hindon, Karauli – Lac bangles.

Mat & Carpet Works: A Carpet is a textile floor covering typically consisting of an upper layer of pile attached to a backing. The pile was traditionally made from wool but, since the 20th century, synthetic fibers such as polypropylene, nylon or polyester  are often used, as these fibers are less expensive than wool. The pile usually consists of twisted tufts which are typically heat-treated to maintain their structure. The term “carpet” is often used interchangeably with the term “rug”, although the term “carpet” can be applied to a floor covering that covers an entire house, whereas a “rug” is generally no bigger than a single room, and traditionally does not even span from one wall to another, and is typically not even attached as part of the floor.

Carpets are used for a variety of purposes, including insulating a person’s feet from a cold tile or concrete floor, making a room more comfortable as a place to sit on the floor (e.g., when playing with children or as a prayer rug), reducing sound from walking (particularly in apartment buildings) and adding decoration or colour to a room. Carpets can be made in any colour by using differently dyed fibers. Carpets can have many different types of patterns and motifs used to decorate the surface. In the 2000s, carpets are used in industrial and commercial establishments such as retail stores and hotels and in private homes. In the 2010s, a huge range of carpets and rugs are available at many price and quality levels, ranging from inexpensive, synthetic carpets that are mass produced in factories and used in commercial buildings to costly hand-knotted wool rugs which are used in private homes of wealthy families.

Carpets can be produced on a loom quite similar to woven fabric, made using needle felts, knotted by hand (in oriental rugs), made with their pile injected into a backing material (called tufting), flat woven, made by hooking wool or cotton through the meshes of a sturdy fabric or embroidered. Wall-to-wall carpet is distinguished from rugs or mats, which are loose-laid floor coverings, as wall-to-wall carpet is fixed to the floor and covers a much larger area. Child labour has often been used in Asia for hand knotting rugs. The Good Weave labelling scheme used throughout Europe and North America assures that child labour has not been used: importers pay for the labels, and the revenue collected is used to monitor centres of production and educate previously exploited children.

The term “carpet” is often used interchangeably with the term “rug”. Some sources define a carpet as stretching from wall to wall. Another definition treats rugs as of lower quality or of smaller size, with carpets quite often having finished ends. A third common definition is that a carpet is permanently fixed in place while a rug is simply laid out on the floor. Historically, the term “carpet” was also applied to table and wall coverings, as carpets were not commonly used on the floor in European interiors until the 15th century.

Woven-The carpet is produced on a loom quite similar to woven fabric. The pile can be plush or Berber. Plush carpet is a cut pile and Berber carpet is a loop pile. There are new styles of carpet combining the two styles called cut and loop carpeting. Normally many colored yarns are used and this process is capable of producing intricate patterns from predetermined designs (although some limitations apply to certain weaving methods with regard to accuracy of pattern within the carpet). These carpets are usually the most expensive due to the relatively slow speed of the manufacturing process. These are very famous in India, Pakistan and Arabia.

Special Circular Design-These carpets are more technologically advanced. Needle felts are produced by intermingling and felting individual synthetic fibers using barbed and forked needles forming an extremely durable carpet. These carpets are normally found in commercial settings such as hotels and restaurants where there is frequent traffic, Knotte A traditional carpet/rug design in preparation on a carpet loom. On a knotted pile carpet (formally, a “supplementary weft cut-loop pile” carpet), the structural weft threads alternate with a supplementary weft that rises at right angles to the surface of the weave. This supplementary weft is attached to the warp by one of three knot types (see below), such as shag carpet which was popular in the 1970s, to form the pile or nap of the carpet. Knotting by hand is most prevalent in oriental rugs and carpets. Pile carpets, like flat carpets, can be woven on a loom.

The warp threads are set up on the frame of the loom before weaving begins. A number of weavers may work together on the same carpet. A row of knots is completed and cut. The knots are secured with (usually one to four) rows of weft. The warp in woven carpet is usually cotton and the weft is jute.

Antique Rug-Carpet weaving may have been introduced into the area as far back as the eleventh century with the coming of the first Muslim conquerors, the Ghaznavid and the Gauri, from the West. It can with more certainty be traced to the beginning of the Mughal Dynasty in the early sixteenth century, when the last successor of Timur, Babar, extended his rule from Kabul to India to found the Mughal Empire. Under the patronage of the Mughals, Indian craftsmen adopted Persian techniques and designs. Carpets woven in the Punjab made use of motifs and decorative styles found in Mughal architecture.

Akbar, a Mogul emperor, is accredited to introducing the art of carpet weaving to India during his reign. The Mughal emperors patronized Persian carpets for their royal courts and palaces. During this period, he brought Persian craftsmen from their homeland and established them in India. Initially, the carpets woven showed the classic Persian style of fine knotting. Gradually it blended with Indian art. Thus the carpets produced became typical of the Indian origin and gradually the industry began to diversify and spread all over the subcontinent. During the Mughal period, the carpets made on the Indian subcontinent became so famous that demand for them spread abroad. These carpets had distinctive designs and boasted a high density of knots. Carpets made for the Mughal emperors, including Jahangir and Shah Jahan, were of the finest quality. Under Shah Jahan’s reign, Mughal carpet weaving took on a new aesthetic and entered its classical phase. Indian carpets are well known for their designs with attention to detail and presentation of realistic attributes. The carpet industry in India flourished more in its northern part with major centres found in

Kashmir, Jaipur, Agra and Bhadohi

Indian carpets are known for their high density of knotting. Hand-knotted carpets are a speciality

and widely in demand in the West. The carpet industry in India has been successful in establishing social business models that help underprivileged sections of the society. Notable examples of social entrepreneurship ventures are Jaipur rugs, Fab India.

Carpet binding” is a term used for any material being applied to the edge of a carpet to make a

 rug. Carpet binding is usually cotton or nylon,

 but also comes in many other materials such as leather. Non-synthetic binding is frequently

used with bamboo, grass and wool rugs, but is often used with carpet made from other materials.

Key Points:

  • Cotton & Wool are used for making fabric
  • For better quality and strong mattress the thread & knots used for making fabric should be very fine (thin).
  • Carpets are also manufactured in Jaipur & Bikaner jails.
  • Salawas Village of Jodhpur is famous for carpets
  • While carpet manufacturing is enthusiastically followed in Jodhpur, Nagaur, Tonk, Barmer, Bhilwara, Shahpura, Kekri & Malpura.

Textile Art of Rajasthan:

Gota Work: Jaipur & Khandela in Sikar district are famous for Gota work.

Zari Work: Jaipur is very well known for Zari work.

Kota Doria: Kota Doria is a fabric with unique blend of cotton and silk in a square check pattern and the checked pattern is termed as ‘khat’. The silk provides the shine while the cotton provides strength to the fabric and the craft originated in Mysore and then shifted to Kaithun Village near Kota. Hence, the Saris came to be known as Kota-Mansuria.

Jaipuri Quilt (Rajai): Jaipur is very known for it as name mention and the specialty of Jaipuri quilt is that it is very low weight but high insulating (very warm).

Applique Work: In this art different pieces of cloth are fixed together. The interesting colour, shape and pattern combinations against contrasting background catch the eye.

Hand-block prints: Bagru Print, Jaipur is famous for Hand block prints and this print is similar to Sanganeri print but while Sanganeri print has white field, Bagru prints have green fields. The main speciality is that only natural colors are used in Bagru Prints. Alijarin (Ajrak) Print of Barmer; Mostly red and blue colors are used for printing.

Tie and dye:

  • Bandani, Batik, Mothra, Ekdali, Shikari, Cheent.
  • Bandhej, Jaipur Cloth is tied and then colored and when the knot is opened different designs appear on cloth.
  • Jhajam (Carpets): Printed in Chittor are famous.
  • Lehriya – Jaipur
  • Chunri – Jodhpur

Dabu Print: Akola Village in Chittorgarh is famous for Dabu Prints. In Dabu, particular portion of cloth where color is not required, that portion is pressed with Loi or Lugadi. This same material lui or lugadi is called as Dabu as it is pressed on part of cloth where is not required. Apart from skills, Akola also has suitable conditions including water, Soil, natural vegetation that favors printing

Dabu Prints from Akola include Bed sheets, Cloth, Chundari, and Fantiyan. In different areas of Rajasthan, different materials are used as Dabu

  • Sawai madhopur – Wax is used as Dabu
  • Baltora – Soil/Mud is used as Dabu
  • Bagru & Sanganer – Bighan made from wheet is used as Dabu

Sanganeri Print – Sanganer

  • Done on Lattha or Malmal clothes.
  • Post printing, clothes are washed in river
  • Aminshah Nalla has been traditionally associated with this print and use of only Red and black color is seen.
  • Munna Lal Goyal made Sanganeri prints famous worldwide.

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