(Last Updated on : 22/05/2009)
The Indus valley civilization mentions the history where several references were found regarding the leather craft of India. The concept of leather craft came into existence when men realized the usage of animal skin for their clothing. The people of lower classes and rural areas initially practiced the craft of leather in India.
In recent times leather craft has lots of things to offer varying from caps, to clothing to footwares to decorative items. Leather craft has occupied a large industry that trades not only in India but the overseas. Utilitarian items from leather like shoes, jackets, lampshades, pouches, bags, belts, wallets, stuffed toys etc are found in umpteen amounts and maintain an indigenous quality. Different cities and regions have their speciality in different items. Exclusively designed lamp and lampshades are made from leather carries an eye-catching effect. Leather shoes, jutties, bags, mushks , embroidered leather items and items designed with geometric pattern are found in different places according to demand. Some regions of India reflect tradition of leather products that are painted with epic and mythological pictures with gold and silver.
Toys and puppets made of leather were used by the puppet masters in India since ages and are still reckoned as one of the finest example of leather craft. Split ply camel girths of Rajasthan are generally made manually by hand without involving any sort of loom. Goat hair or cotton cord is woven into yarn on the spindle that is then doubled to make it two-ply and so on. A four-ply yarn is used for girth, with each ply being two-ply; black and white yarn.
Leather items such as shoes, gloves, coats and suitcases are specialized leather craft items of a particular locale. Zari works with gold and silver threads in leather items like jooties and chappals proves the artistry and enhance elegance to the embroidered products. Leather jooties are sometimes decorated with silk, beads; sometimes appliqué work is done to add magnificence to the item. Knuckle pad is an embroidered leather craft that is vividly colourful and has an elegant look. The leather is embroidered, studded, sequined, and stitched in a variety of attractive traditional designs. Sometimes the "jutis" are intricately decorated with gold and multicolored threads to give them gaudy look. The leather items include footwear and ladies hand bags, other items like ornaments, diary folders, leather seats, puffs and `pidis` are also of great demand and found in polished attractive hues. The leather craft of Shantiniketan encompasses the art of `batik` and embroidery.
Mojris (or jootis or pagarkhiyas), footwear is a leather craft that is well admired for its craftsmanship and variations of designs. "Kashidakari" is an art that is done on the `jootis` with silk or metal or beads or done in appliqué with thin leather pieces of different colours. `Peshwari` is another kind of jooti that is worn by both men and women. `Nagra` is a jooti that is admired in all places of India and those are embroidered with Mughal motifs in gold and brightly coloured threads with intricate and brilliant designs.
`Kolhapuri` chappals are crafted indigenously as its origin lies in Kolhapur in India and well admired by all over India and abroad.
Leather is hugely used for manufacturing jackets, gloves, coats etc as they are in demand and goes with the recent trend. Leather sofa sets, cushion covers etc are made keeping in mind the recent fashion and trend of interior decoration.