(Last Updated on : 19/04/2011)
Lac Handicraft in India is quite an old art. Lac work is applied to furniture and other decorative items. Lac is manufactured in many parts of Bengal, Elambazaar in Beerbhum, Lohardugga district of Chota-Nagpur and along the banks of the Parulia, between Jhalda and Ranchi in the Manbhum district. Stick lac is also manufactured in Chota-Nagpur, Raipur and Sambalpur. The making of multicoloured lac marbles, lacquered walking sticks, lac mats, lac bangles and lacquered toys are carried on almost everywhere.
Multicoloured balls and sticks are made by twisting coloured melted sealing-wax round the stick or ball from top to bottom in alternate bands. Thereafter the stick or ball is held before the fire and with a needle or pin short lines are drawn perpendicularly through the bands of sealing-wax, drawing the different colours into each other, when the stick or ball is rapidly rolled on a cool, smooth surface. The netted mats are made by allowing the thread of sealing wax twisted round a stick to cool and then drawing off the whole coil. This is then broken into sections of three or four turns each, which is linked together into "mats ".
Lac bracelets and ornamental beads are manufactured at Delhi and other places in the Punjab. The lac bracelets tinfoil is mixed with silver with half its weight of dry glue and these are pounded together. The mass breaks into pieces when it is thrown into water. This is stirred and the water is poured out. When the solution becomes pure, it is boiled, and allowed to cool. Silvery glue is seen on it that is spread with a brush on the lac and polished when dry by rubbing with a set of glass beads. Lac bracelets are ornamented, with little glass beads and bits of tin or copper foil stuck along the edge.
Lac bracelets are also manufactured in the district of the Panch Mahal in Gujarat
. Lac is collected by the Bhils in the neighbouring forests of Ali Rajpur, Udaipur
, and Devgad Bariya and sold to grain dealers which are again sold to the town lac manufacturers. The bangles are separately formed. They are slipped over the oily conical head of a rice pounder. When it is about half-covered with rings they are heated so that without melting they stick to each other. Thereafter a pattern is printed on the cylinder of bracelets. Two ounces of thin tin and a small lump of glue are pounded together till they form a dull grey metallic paste. Next day it is boiled in a copper vessel. The cotton stamp is taken, dipped in the tin water and prints its pattern on them. Once a day for three days a varnish is applied that turns all the white dots of the tin pattern into a beautiful golden colour. The pattern is completed by fastening the bracelet with drops of tin water made red with vermilion, white with chalk.
Yellow and red striped armlets also known as golias are worn between the elbow and shoulder. The industry gives employment to the families at Dohad and Jhalod. Lacquered wooden bracelets and wooden toys are also made at Ahmedabad and Surat and in Mysore and Harpanhalli in the Bellary district
. Lac ornaments are made at Ellichpur in Berar. The Rajputana boxes have a dull ground, decorated with conventional, geometric, flower forms, of two colours arranged in the alternate rhythmical manner. The lacquered paper Mache work of Cashmere is the choicest in India. It is used for native pen cases and boxes which are painted throughout with the shawl pattern in many colours.
there is a sort of lacquer-ware in which the ground is painted in transparent green on tinfoil and the subjects being painted on this shining background in bright colours.
The lacquer ware industry of Varanasi
is about 400 years old. It is reported that the artisans of this craft had migrated from Udaipur in Rajasthan
. They prospered in Varanasi under the patronage of the Maharaja of Kashi and millions of pilgrims who visited Varanasi as a holy city.
Jhunjuna and chusni for babies, tops, bats, balls, models of aeroplanes, rail engines, telephone sets, jumping sets, tea sets, caravans of camels and elephants, sets of musicians and sadhus of India, models of carts and animal figures, Furniture items; bed posts, cradles. Utility articles- sindoor boxes, flower vases, powder boxes.
Coloured lacquer ware is made in Sheopur, Rewa Budhi, Bhopal, Gwalior, Ratlam and Sabalgarh. Etikoppaka in Andhra Pradesh is one of the most important centres of this craft. The lacquerware of Savantvadi, once a princely state, is a traditional craft. The traditional craftsmen are known as Chittorees, picture makers. The production now is mainly centred on lacquered imitation fruits and vegetables. Chennapatna in Karnataka
state holds an honoured place in the lacquerware world.
Navrangpur in Orissa
has a distinct type of lacquering with its own designs and colour schemes. Their speciality is a box made generally of bamboo, sometimes of papier mache, brightly lacquered and highly decorated with folk motifs, animals, flowers, birds traditionally used for exchanging gifts.
Making lac bangles is another popular craft in Mithila and is one of the important folk-art. The bangles have numerous types such as lahathi simple bangles, tisiphula bangles of marriage, chagotava vsukhapuri thin, mathapa, motiya, bijulichata, phulavari, sahana etc. Beautiful designs are made on each of these types of bangles. Each area specialises in different designs. The designs of bangles of sursand in Muzaffarpur district of Darbhanga division retain the traditional colouring and pattern.
Lac combs of Orissa
Lac combs are used by tribals as hair ornamentation. The comb itself is made of a soft local wood and the decorative motifs on it are done with jungle-lac. Navrangapur of Koraput district is the most well- known centre for jungle-lac craft.
Lac Jewellery of Bihar
The main industry for lac is in Bihar. In northern Bihar about one hundred tons of refuse lac which remains in the sack after squeezing, is used for bangle cores and the better quality lac is used for decoration. Lac bangles are worn by married women of the aboriginal tribal people of Bihar including Bhumij, Mo, Munda, Oraon and Santhal tribes.
Lac jewellery, especially bangles, is worn on all auspicious occasions in Rajasthan as they are considered a sign of good omen. The bangles are either plain or studded with glass pieces, bright stones --- sometimes precious ones --- and beads. They are extremely beautiful. The plain bangles have lahariya (wavy) or zig-zag designs. The ornamental ones are in several varieties, like patla and phooldar (floral). They are also set with salma and patri. Lac jewellery set with glass chatons is also a popular item in Rajasthan. Jaipur city is the big centre.