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Crafts of India


Aditi Ranjan, M P Ranjan

Published by

Council of Handicraft Development Corporations

(COHANDS), New Delhi

Office of the Development Commissioner Handicrafts,

Ministry of Textiles
The state of Jammu and Kashmir
consists of three geographical zones—
Islam, Sufism and Sikhism. It has also been the focus of varied
art patronage and consequently it has amalgamated Turkish,
Dal Lake
Papier-mâché Jammu, a land encompassing plains, Persian and Mughal influences to create its own art idiom. Vaishno Devi
Kaleen – knotted carpets mountains and foothills; Kashmir, Due to its scarcity of resources and the presence of nomadic Shalimar Garden
Kashidakari – Kashmiri a mosaic of forests, orchards, rice communities, Ladakh has evolved craft practices that are Shah Hamadan Mosque
embroidery fields, lakes and waterways; and informed both by the formative influences of Central Asian, Leh Palace
Namda – felted rugs the high altitude desert of Ladakh, Chinese and Tibetan cultures as well as by the climatic
Hemis Monastery
Gabba – embroidered its harsh austerity punctuated by green riversides and cloud- conditions in which it is situated. Simultaneously, Ladakh also
rugs Alchi Monastery
less blue skies. Each of these regions possesses a distinct contains another cultural matrix fostered by its predomi-
Kani shawls Hot springs – Panamik
culture that is reflective of its climatic conditions as well as nantly Buddhist population and the patronage by its ancient
Woollen textiles Mubarak Mandi Palace –
its particular history. Jammu, once the kingdom of the Dogra monasteries. The art forms that belong to this realm are thus Dogra Art Museum
Walnut wood carving
rulers, is a largely Hindu region renowned for its numerous closely related to the spatial and ritualistic requirements of
Pinjrakari – latticed Attire
shrines and courtly miniature paintings. Kashmir’s motley the religion.
wood work Pheran – loose over-
artistic and literary traditions are the legacy of political garment
Khatumband –
domination by rulers of various religious predilections— Inset Found in Buddhist temples and homes, the
wood work Goncha – overcoat
mandala, sacred circle, symbolizes the spiritual
Wicker work the Mauryans, Kushanas, Karakotas, Tibetans, Persians,
embodiment of the Buddha and diagrammatically Stutung – sleeveless
Reed mats Mughals, Sikhs and finally, the Dogra rulers of Jammu—and represents the calling in and realization of the coat
Copper ware interaction with the trading communities who passed through spiritual force within the contemplator. Bokh – sheepskin wrap
Glazed pottery it. Kashmir has been a historical centre for the scholarship Skerekh – belt
i l Basohli painting and teaching of Buddhism, Vedic culture, Sanskrit, Shaivism, Gonad – hat
Dogri embroidery Perakh – female
Districts – 14 The snow-capped mountains of Kargil, Ladakh. Metal casting ceremonial headgear
Craftspersons – 5.17 Lakhs Sheet metal work For monks:
Chikri wood work Shamtam – lower
Embroidered footwear
Nubra Valley Zangos – shawl
Block printing
Pak ist an Cuisine
Shy Thangka paintings
LADAKH Ritual cloth installations Girdas – wheat bread
Khabdan – pile carpets Wazwan – mutton
KASHMIR dishes
Jh Tsug-dul – woollen pile
um Yakhni – meat dish
Baramula blankets
Srinagar Dal Lake Wanla Leh Tsug-gdan – woollen Gostabah – meatballs
Choglamasar pile rugs Tsampa – barley flour
Pangong Tso
Cluster Hemis Challi – handwoven Chang – fermented

Cluster & District s textiles


Cluster, District
Upshi barley drink
& State Capital Hand-spinning Khamiri roti – yeast
District Boundary Ch
International Boundary en Thigma – tie-resist- bread

Scale 1: 5,577,000 | 1 cm = 55.77 km Gurgur chai – salt tea

JAMMU Tso Moriri Paabu – stitched boots
Kahwa – tea
Metal work
Jammu 5 6
Hima cha l Pra des h Jewellery
Samba 5 The village of Hemis, home to the largest monastery in 9 Votive offerings inscribed with prayers, locally
Wood carving Ladakh. known as mani, jewel stones.
Painted wood 6 A fresco at the Hemis Monastery depicting a guardian 10 This 8 m high statue of Maitreya Buddha or
Chipkiang baskets deity. The panelled wood work above the fresco is the future Buddha, carved into the hillside at
1 Connected by seven bridges, the old quarter
painted to simulate the pleated ritual cloth installations Karchay Kharvill, is one of the four similar
of Srinagar city sprawls along the banks of Musical instruments
used in the monasteries. sculptures in the Kargil region.
the River Jhelum. Mask making 7 A painted wooden mask, worn by monks during monastic
A pashmina goat. 2 A man wearing a pheran, the loose overcoat,
ceremonial dances.
commonly worn by Kashmiri men and women 10
8 A Drok-pa woman wearing the typical headdress adorned
alike. Physical Features
with flowers. This small agricultural community of Ladakh Languages
3 A mihrab, the arched doorway, of a house in Mountain ranges: is believed to be of Indo-Aryan origin and practices a
Jammu. Trans-Himalayas, Kashmiri
form of Buddhism that is akin to Bon-chos, the animistic
4 The papier-mâché panelled entrance to Karakoram, 7 Dogri
pre-Buddhist religion of Ladakh.
Srinagar’s Shah Hamadan Mosque. Ladakh, Zanskar,
Pir Panjal,
2 3 4 Shivalik 8 9 Gujari
Major rivers: Punjabi
Jhelum, Chenab, Ladakhi
Gilgit, Tawi, Indus, Urdu
Shyok, Zanskar
Major lakes: Festivals
Wular, Dal, Shushur Sankrant
Tso Moriri, Losar – Ladakhi New
Pangong Tso Year
Hemis Festival
Biodiversity Ladakh Festival, Leh and
Flora: Kargil
Walnut, Poplar, Chinar,
Deodar, Willow reed,
Pamposh, Iris, Almond, Bahu Mela
Tulip, Chipkiang grass Mansar Food and Craft
Fauna: Mela
Sheep, Goat, Yak, Ibex Milad-ul-Nabi, Srinagar

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Crafts of
Kaleen – knotted carpets
Kashidakari – Kashmiri
Namda – felted rugs
Gabba – embroidered
Walnut wood carving
um Pinjrakari – latticed
Baramula wood work
Dal Lake 3
Srinagar Khatumband –
wood work
Wicker work
Copper ware
Subclusters of Poplar trees on the
N e s tl e d a m i d the high mountains of the Shivalik and Pir 1 2
outskirts of Srinagar.
Cluster & District
KASHMIR Panjal ranges lies the verdant valley of Kashmir. In the 3rd century Papier-mâché
Cluster, District Srinagar district BC, the Mauryan emperor Ashoka sent Buddhist missionaries
& State Capital
District Boundary Anantnag district to the region and it is they who established Srinagar (literally the craft, known by the French term Production Clusters
International Boundary Baramula district ‘The Happy City of Beauty and Knowledge’), the current capital papier-mâché (literally paper pulp), is Badgam district
of the state. The Karakota dynasty consolidated their power in locally known as kar-e-kalamdani, pen Anantnag district
the region during the 7th century, thus bringing Kashmir under case work, after its traditional Iranian Kupwara district
Hindu dominion. Kashmir’s location on the Silk Route of Central name. Papier-mâché was practiced as Baramula district:
Asia ensured a steady stream of artistic and cultural interac- a form of decoration executed on the Delina
tion with various trading communities—Persian, Chinese and wooden panels of walls and wooden Wagoora
Mediterranean—who passed through it. This influx of stylistic furniture and was eventually adapted to Pulwama district:
influences is apparent in the syncretism of Kashmiri art; it paper moulds as well. Trays, small boxes Gangoo
An ari embroiderer derives from sources as varied as the serenity of the Gandhara and book covers were made for royal patrons and members
at work; the reed mat, sculptures and the stylization of the Persian court. The Persian of their courts. The two major processes involved in the craft are Srinagar district:
hookah and kangri, Srinagar city:
influence was further highlighted during the rule of Zain-ul- sakthsazi (mould making) and naqqashi (painting). The naqqash
(a wicker container Arwat
Abadin, a local prince who was forced into exile in Persia by renders the surface in intricate floral patterns or highly stylized
for smouldering Sufa Kadal
coals) near him, are
Timur in 1398. The prince returned to his homeland in 1423 scenes of hunts and battles. In the case of floral motifs, the
Lal Chowk
ubiquitious elements accompanied by various skilled craftsmen who introduced and painting may be executed entirely in gold or silver. The local term Doni Pora
of the local material developed the crafts we associate today with Kashmir. for gold or silver work is son tehreer. The motifs are derived from Shamaswari
culture. The foreign craft traditions fused together with the indigenous the profusion of local flora; some of the frequently used images Syed Pora
craft practices and forged an artistic vocabulary reflective of the are the bumtchuthposh (apple blossoms), dainposh (pomegra-
R E S O U R C E S Products
environment they were produced in. For example, the chinar nate), kongposh (saffron flowers) and yambarzal (narcissus).
Craft Raw Materials Sources Boxes, Toys
(oriental plane), sarav (cypress), dachh (vine), sosan (iris),
Carpet weaving Silk, Wool Karnataka, Kashmir Jewellery box
pamposh (lotus), sumbul (hyacinth), yambarzal (narcissus) and
Namda Wool fibres, Cotton Srinagar Inset A papier-mâché container painted in a Lamps, Pen cases
fibres the dainposh (pomegranate) motifs recur throughout the range
multi-hued floral pattern. Wall decoration
Gabba Woollen blankets Srinagar of crafts, thus lending a uniquely Kashmiri character to the
1 A namda craftsman products they adorn. Under the Mughal emperor Jehangir, the 4 1 The papier-mâché ornamented ceiling of Powder containers
Kashidakari: Ari Pashmina and raffal Srinagar, Leh
beating wool fibres the Madina Sahab Mosque. Mirror cases
shawls crafts of Kashmir, especially that of carpet weaving, received
with a wicker punja. 2 Detail of an intricately painted floral pattern.
Kashidakari: Sozni Gold or silver zari – Surat 2 A naqqash at a generous patronage. The Mughal influence may also be seen in 3 A papier-mâché box, the detail revealing its
Christmas decorations
tilla, Silk thread the gardens of Srinagar, their summer capital, and in the car- 5 Flower vases, Kettles
papier-mâché highly ornamental surface.
Copper repoussé work Copper sheets Srinagar workshop in Srinagar, pets which reflect the geometrical layout of these ‘Gardens of 4 Painted papier-mâché furniture. Trays and plates
Khatumband and Wood – deodar, pine Kashmir Valley painting a moulded Paradise’ that are based on the Persian Chahar Bagh design. 5, 6 A folding screen, and a detail; the composi- Samovar – fluted kettle
pinjrakari form. tion revealing the similarity to the medallion
3 A craftsman at one of with chothai pattern seen in the kaleen, carpet. Tools
Walnut wood carving Wood – dun or akhrot Kashmir Valley ACCESS
several wood carving 7 Detail showing the gold painted surface File, Rasp, Hacksaw
Wicker work Willow Kashmir Valley Srinagar is connected by road, rail and air with the states of Punjab,
workshops in Fateh known as son tehreer. Sandpaper
Papier-mâché Paper pulp Kashmir Valley Kadal, Srinagar. Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Burnishing stone

7 Paintbrushes
1 2 3 6

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