You can talk of Italian couture all you like, but Indian handicrafts and artwork will always stand many shades apart.
That is because every thread has a story to tell.
They carry with them many histories, many legacies – each of them a representative of the state they belong to.
However, hand on your heart – how many Indian masterpieces can you actually think of? Sure, you know the ones that Vidya Balan wore to an awards show, but there are so many other lesser known beauties that you know little about.
Here are some Indian handicrafts/artwork we’d like to list:
Madhubani painting is also known as Mithila painting. Natural dyes and pigments are used to create it.
Madhubani art has five distinctive styles – Bharni, Tantrik, Nepali, Katchni and Gobar. This art form became more and more popular over the ages and is now also replicated in other decorative forms.
Phulkari literally means flower work. These are products of hand-made embroidery that women in Punjab started working on in the 19th century.
The appeal of the phulkari has only grown over the years. Made with bright, colourful threads sewn together in different patterns, it is a must-have in Punjabi households.
There is a small town called Channapatna, about 60 km from Bengaluru. In the local language of Kannada, it is also known as Gombegala Ooru – which means toy town.
Need we say more? Channapatna is a major tourist destination where artisans make these toys in front of their customers. A particular type of local wood is used with organic colours to make these toys. About 80 per cent of the population of the town rely on this business for their livelihood.
Brass utensils have been a symbol of prosperity, wealth and honour since decades.
It carries with it a part of history. Lohars from Rajasthan bought brass sheets from Ahmedabad and created these first. These utensils that once dazzled royal kitchens are now found in museums.
Some are even handed down through generations as family heirlooms.
Remember sleeping with kanthas at night?
They are soft, comfortable and cozy. It all began decades ago when grandmothers would sew their old sarees as patchworks and make kanthas. The tradition still continues – except that today, it is done on a larger commercial platform, and with much brighter colours.
What form of art can possibly be made with rice grains? You’d be surprised at what the Mundas have accomplished.
This ethnic tribal group in the Chota Nagpur plateau region use unhusked rice grains to make idols. Dhaan meaning ‘rice grain’ and murti meaning ‘idols’ are made of three things – rice grains, bamboo slivers and coloured threads. Peacocks, urns and Indian gods and goddesses like Ganesha or Lakhsmi are made into dhanamurtis.
Ranidongri is a small town in Madhya Pradesh where local men and women weave baskets as a means of livelihood.
They weave tokris in different shapes and sizes. Mostly women weave them, in almost every household in Ranidongri.
Lappe Ka Kaam
Lappe ka kaam is also known as gota patti or zardousi. This kind of embroidery reflects the richness and royalty of Rajasthan.
It is a type of applique embroidery which weaves in the colour and heritage of India. This kind of work is seen a lot in bridal clothing these days.
Blue pottery is an art Jaipur is known and celebrated for.
This is the only kind of pottery that doesn’t use clay. Instead, it uses a mixture of quartz stone powder, powdered glass, Multani Mitti, borax, gum and water. The name ‘blue’ is because of the blue dye that is used to make this kind of pottery.
The process of making this is extremely time-consuming and tedious.
These kathputlis are the mascots of Rajasthan.
These one-and-a-half-feet tall dolls made in Sawai-Madhopur, Bari and Udaipur are used in puppet shows or even in urban spaces as pretty wall decorations.