Monday, March 14, 2016

Rajasthan Arts and Crafts

Rajasthan is among the richest states in the county as far as the field of arts and crafts is concerned. May be it was a result of the war- like lifestyle of the people of Rajasthan which sharpened the creative senses, artistic skills and inspired them to create the most opulent and richest of treasures. Stone , clay , leather, wood, ivory, lac, glass, brass, silver, gold and textiles were given the most brilliant forms.
Art flourished in this region as far back as 2nd-1st centuries BC and continued over the centuries. In Baroli , in the Hadoti region, presence of several sculptures proves that a regular art school existed in the 10th century. The cave paintings, terracotta and other stone sculptures  excavated at different sites corroborate this.

Each period of history saw its own contribution to the thriving art scene.  History of Rajasthan reveals that the kings and their nobles were patrons of arts and crafts and they encouraged their craftsmen in activities ranging from wood and marble carving to weaving , pottery and painting. And art seems to have been an obsession with the inhabitants of this parched landscape.
The desire to decorate their surroundings was very strong. Nothing was overlooked --- animals from the regal elephant to the lowly donkey, the great palaces and the inner chambers of forbidding forts were decorated with as much attention as were the walls of humble mud huts. The inhabitants were not too far behind when it came to adorning themselves and it was not only the women who beautified themselves—the heroic warriors extended equal attention to their clothing and armour- they went into battles with meticulously ornamented swords and shields. The horses and elephants that took the warriors to battles received the same care ----- jeweled saddles and intricate silver howdas  were just some of the ornaments that were used to adorn them.
For women there was infinite variety—tie and dye fabrics, embroidered garments, enamel jewellery inlayed with precious and semi- precious stones, leather jootis. They put their lives indoors to very good use by decorating their surroundings--- on the walls of their skilled craftsmen to adorn the Mughal courts.


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Artist Making Phad Painting


The Rajput rulers encouraged the artisans to set up schools for the propagation of their crafts. Each Rajput  principality had its own unique craft and to this day , every little town and village has its share of lanes where the craftsmen can be found practicing a craft  handed down by his ancestors. Some of the popular crafts are:

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Meenakari Art


Meenakari :
Raja Man Singh of Amer brought this intricate craft to Jaipur by inviting five skilled enamel workers from Lahore. The art prospered over the years and is today renowed the world over. Jaipur meenakari is famed for its delicacy and its use of colours. Pratapgarh and Nathdwara are two other centres which produce  fine quality enamel work.

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Rajasthan Jewellery


Jewellery :
Rajasthan is rich in jewellery each area having its own unique  style. Some of the traditional designs are rakhri, timaniyan, bala, bajuband , gajra, gokhru, jod, etc. Tribal woment wear heavy, simple crafted jewellery and seem to carry the weight (almost up to five kgs) without much discomfort almost all the time. Men too wear their share of ornaments in the form of chockers and earrings.

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Ivory Bangles


Ivory:
The ivory bangles that most Rajasthan women wear are considered auspicious. Ivory is also  inlaid and shaped into intricate items of great beauty. Miniature paintings were also executed on ivory.


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Lac Bangles


Lac and Glass :
Lac bangles are made in bright colurs and sometimes inlaid with glass. Other decorative and functional items are also available.

Sandalwood and wood :
Carved wood is presented in a wide range of objects and is simple and inexpensive.

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Blue Pottery


Stone:

Statues on religious themes are carved all over Rajasthan and in several cities there are still entire lanes where the stone carers can be seen giving final touches to statues or even pillars. Other crafts like blue pottery, handblock printing, tie and dye, terracotta sculptures, painting on camel hide, embroidery, cloth painting, carpets, durries, inlay work on brass and wood are to be found all over Rajasthan.

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