In ancient India people lived in colonies called tribals and they were used to makeutility itemsfor their daily need, that art of making the crafts called handicrafts, and the items called handicrafts goods. Then people started selling these products in the local markets “haat”. Time has been passed and people have become more developed and civilised in all aspects, those who were making handicraft products have started trading their makings by increasing demand and population.
Handmade goods are called handicrafts and handicrafts made in India are known as Indian handicrafts. From early ages to current world, people of India have been using handmade products for a long time. At earlier stage, Indian-handicrafts had been used as utility items to fulfill their need but now these products have become the creation of Art and are used for decorations.
The manufacturer took their items from one place to other and they became famous for their craft. The craftsmen made extra efforts to develop something special and valuable products for Kings and queens of their time, they usually wanted to show their skills and to make king and queen happy so that they can be rewarded by them. Now those valuable things can be seen in the museums around the world. Those people who have been preserving the talent and the traditions of making Indian handicraft goods called Indian artisans, and govt. appreciate their efforts to keep classical art alive and rewarded by various National Awards. Time to time govt. organise exhibitions and craft fairs “mela” to promote Indian Art and Crafts every year.
The art and crafts examples can be seen in the fort and palaces of India, in Indian architecture and miniature paintings of India. Several handicraft techniques can be seen in different places of India. Every state have their own handicraft techniques for making art and craft products.
North Indian Art and Crafts
The famous north Indian crafts are
Paper mache products of Kashmir: Kashmir has different style of paper mache decorative goods. People use these beautiful paper mache items for Christmas decorations around the world.
Walnut wood craft of Kashmir: Artisans make beautiful walnut wood crafts and furniture. Wallnut wood crafts included walnut elephant and other animals.
Copper handicrafts of kashmir:
Copper handicrafts items are beautifully carved made of copper antique finish
Jewelry of Ladakh Kashmir, mostly the lapezlazuly stone used to make these beautiful jewelry necklaces and pendants with gold and silver.
Although the Uttar pradesh known for Taj Mahal and it is also known for its various handicrafts products, the various city of Utta rpradesh known for its handicrafts techniques. Ferozabad city known for its glass handicrafts like chandeliers, Bangles, vases, candle stands and other decorative glass products.
The Agra known for marble handicrafts, leather shoes and chappals. Kanpur known for its Leather handicrafts. Bareli known for wooden handicrafts and furniture products. Lucknow known for cotton suits and kurta-pajama. Banaras known for Banarasi Sarees, other than these crafts the hand embroidery on dresses done in all over Uttarpradesh. Garment factories of India provide work to thousands of people all over Uttar Pradesh and get beautifully embroidery done by people of Uttar Pradesh.
East Indian Handicrafts:
East India is famous for its various Indian handicraft products including tribal art and crafts. Some of these states of India located at the top of east India known as seven sisters. Bamboo craft is famous in all over East India, the Assam, West Bengal, Orissa, Manipur are known for this handicrafts. Tribes of East India have been making eco-friendly crafts by natural straws, fibers, wood, metal, stone and other materials. Mizoram known for its natural straws crafts and serpentinite stone pottery. The stone pottery is also a unique technique of making pottery products. In this technique the serpentinite stone used to make beautiful brown and black ceramic pottery products. First they collect the stone from the mountains and crush them into pieces and crush it to make powder to make the clay, after that they mold that clay into beautiful pottery products like mug, kettle, and other utensils. Mizoram is also known for the natural straws crafts. The straws craft is also the unique art and craft technique of making goods out of the natural fibers and straws. These hand knitted products including natural straws mat, straw hat, ecofriendly bags, natural straws handbags, wood fiber lamp, lamp made of wooden thin stems, natural fiber basket, straws box and other useful products.
Tribal jewelry made of wood, metals, stones and gems and other natural materials are also the center of attractions.
Orissa and Bihar states known for its Madhubani paintings, applique art and crafts and village paper mash products, these paper Mache is different from the paper Mache of Kashmir. These are little rough and decorated by hand paintings, folk art designs and motives on them. Paintings on palm leafs and manuscripts on palm leaves.
West Indian Handicrafts:
Three major and largest states located at west India, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. These states are also known for their different handicrafts products. Rajasthan is well known for its miniature paintings of India, furniture of Rajasthan, metal crafts, marble and other stone crafts, wooden decorative items, Rajasthani dresses, gems and stone jewelry of Rajasthan, lakh jewelry, puppets.
Gujarat state is the largest states of cotton production, so it is known for cotton products. Cotton home furnishing and decorated products. Hand embroidered cotton clothes and wall hangings of Gujarat are very famour. Quilts dari, bed sheets spread colours all over the world.
Maharashtra is also known for various handicrafts products, lether crafts specially kolhapuri chappals, hand made lether sandals, textile industry of maharashtra, and worli paintings.
South Indian Handicrafts:
Tanjor paintings, bnidri crafts, brass statue making techniques, leather lampshades, wooden toys, shell handicrafts and jewelry, coconut crafts, pearls jewelry from Andhra pradesh, brass metal wares and statues techniques are totally different from the moradabad (a city of Uttarpradesh) brass molding techniques. Wood craft is very famous to decorate temples and homes. People have been using beautifully carved wooden decorative and doors for interior decorations. Madurai known for its rosewood carving handicrafts. Famous south Indian handicrafts are rosewood craft, metal statues of God and Goddesses, kanchipuram saree, tanjor paintings.
South India metal crafts techniques are something different from Moradabad and other metal crafts of India. However in Moradabad metal casting technique the craftsmen used to develop a mold (sancha) for production of brass, copper and aluminum handicrafts, and use this mold to reproduction of goods. While in South India they use new mold for each statue, so every piece is a master piece itself.
Hyderabad is famous for its pearl jewelry, the history told us the interest of Mughals in jewelry was very much. So the pearl and diamonds were imported from Australia, USSR, Belgium, China, Europe and other part of world. The tradition has grown and took the form of business, and the Hyderabad city become the pearl and diamond jewelry city. The handmade lakh jewelry is also a big attraction of Hyderabad the city in Karnataka.
Coconut tree products, shell handicrafts, coconut handicrafts are also famous in south India.
Today Indian Handicrafts in World
People from ancient civilization to modern world have been using Indian handicrafts products for decorating home and gardens and utilities, the artisans have been attracting kings, queens and other rich people by their art and creations. The artisans of India from different part of country attracted people all over the world.
The art of India have been continuously spreading around the world by Indian handicrafts products. The speciality is that they were made by hand, hand engraved, hand carved, hand painted and hand moulded by masters working for years, in fact the spent whole life to make their art a masterpiece, later on people started develop those products in quantity by using that technique developed by Indian artisans. By increasing demand of the Indian handicrafts products some traders and exporters of India did collect the handicraft goods from all over India and selling in International market at high price. If you compare hand crafted products with machine made products, they are totally different in quality and look and feel. The machine made products would be more finished, smooth good looking, however the hand made products are not that much finish all the surface can have some dent or uneven, the shape can be different of all the pieces, but machine made products will have same shape and same weight throughout production. The hand made products can have difference in weight. The big reason is that each piece made by hand anyhow different in weight, size and shape.
But if you can feel the products, however the machine made craft cannot have that feeling which you can feel by touching hand crafted products, it is a great feeling while you are touching and admiring the beauty of hand crafted art. Hand crafted products are long life, rich look and unique itself. Every art piece has the story and the history in it, you are feeling history while you are touching handicraft art piece, watching and decorating your house.
'By Nahid Sikander Ansari"