(Last Updated on : 01/11/2014)
Often referred as the 'paradise on earth' those visiting Jammu and Kashmir can take back not only the visual images of the snowy valley but also the excellent crafts, to keep alive the memory of the visit. The diverse crafts of Jammu and Kashmir range from woolen textiles, which are intricately woven, hand woven carpets of finest warp and weft, woodwork to the delicate designs worked on papier-mâché.
Kashmiris are known for a special type of embroidery called kasida
. Varied and rich in colours characterize the embroidery. The finest kasida work, those that are embroidered on shawls or saris has no ' wrong ' side. The chain stitch is also used for makinga large number of articles like bags, screens and cushion covers.
Kashmir produces earthenware, which are made of ordinary clay with a polish finish. A typical example of this type of earthenware is the hukka base, which is made in a variety of shapes. Attractive tableware is also produced from clay. These products are mainly sold along the side of the Dal Lake in Srinagar, which is popularly called the Dal gate pottery.
Kashmiri Shawls rank first in the choice of woolen clothes in India. Shahtoosh and Jamawar are the best-known varieties of shawl that are woven in Kashmir. This craft requires immense dexterity and an eye for artistry. There are many shawls, which are woven on both sides called 'do ruksha'. The colour combinations are a treat for the eyes, which are complemented with superb embroidery.
of Jammu and Kashmir are a recent addition in the list of crafts. The designs of the silk carpets are similar to those of the woolen carpets. Tabriz, Kashan, Kirman, Bokhara, Qum and Hamdaan are among the silk carpets woven in Srinagar. The best silk carpets are a blend of traditional design with modern innovative ideas and colours.
In Kashmir, an exclusive item is the beautifully crafted wooden objects from walnut trees, which are expensive and rare item in the world of crafts. It mainly consists of furniture items such as wall hangings, jewelry boxes, screens, room dividers, fruit bowls, trays etc.
The 'kari kamandari' or papier-mache as it is commonly called is done on a silken surface on which motifs such as chinar leaf, iris, rose, tulips, hyacinth and arabesques are painted with great elegance and delicacy. The best of Kashmir's papier-mache is a beautiful piece of art, which combines different shades of paintings with brilliant brush works.
Interesting floor coverings called namdas and gabbas are another piece of craft of Kashmir. They have their distinct style and are a reflection of the creativity of the Kashmiris. Intricate designs and embroidery, appliqués characterizes the namdas. On the appliqué, something like a crochet needle with a hooked end is used. Gabba is a rug, which is made from old woolens on which different cut forms are created with chain stitch. The edges and the field are covered with large embroidery and usually have bright designs on subtle background.
In Kashmir the leatherwork
is also renowned. Leather handbags are in huge demand and some of the finest embroidery goes on to make it an exclusive item in the closet.