(Last Updated on : 14/05/2011)
The crafts of Rajasthan
received patronage from the royal dynasties in the past and this is the primary reason why crafts flourished in the state. Infact, the artists and the craftsmen were respected so much that they were given incentives and special areas were designated for their work. Today, Jaipur the capital of the state is known as the craft capital of the country. In Rajasthan
, craft has itself developed as a full-fledged industry, and is a major source of occupation in the state.
Rajasthan is famous for marbles, and several decorative items are made out of it. The various icons made from this white stone stands out from the rest. Other than images of gods and goddesses, marbles is used for floors, staircases, furniture, tableware etc. Decorative jaali or trelliswork is another specialty of Jaipur
A new entrant in the list of crafts is the white metal craft. Several icons, animal forms, puja utensils are carved out of white metal. On this white metal, the Mughal
style floral motifs are etched out in jewelry boxes, candle stands etc. that look somewhat like silver. The craft of crushing gems to stick on paintings of gods and goddesses and lids of jewelry boxes and trays is also a new form of craft.
Scarcity of water has led to development of pottery as a craft, where beautifully decorated pots are used for carrying and storing water. The striking feature in the pottery of Rajasthan is that they have small mouths and black and white patterns are very artistically drawn on the shoulder of the pot. Alwar
is known for its sheer body pottery known as kagzi or paper pottery. The pots of Pokhran have geometrical patterns embossed on it. The painted pottery of Bikaner is painted with lac colours to which a shade of gold is added. Nohar in Bikaner is the hub of pottery. The blue pottery of Jaipur is produced without the use of clay. It is made up of quartz, raw glaze, sodium sulphate, multani mitti which are baked on fire only once unlike the conventional way of pot making. The neck and the lip are shaped on the wheel. The decorating on the pot is done with brushes made of squirrel`s hair and mostly decorated with arabesque patterns, occasionally with animal
and bird motifs.
of Rajasthan varies from community to community which has its own style. The Jat women of Sikar and Jhunjhuna make designs of flora and fauna on the border of their skirts. The Jat women of Bikaner are famous for bandhini. The Phulkari bagh stitch is more common among the Meos of Alwar district. The appliqué works of Rajasthan also have a distinct appeal. They are done on quilts called rallies. The pichwai of Nathdwara is a designer cloth, which is used as a decoration in temples. The gota work is a type of embroidery, which is done on velvet cloth which also another variety of embroidery.
The list of crafts in Rajasthan is endless and one of the famous crafts of the state is the leather items. Mojdis or leather footwear is made from locally tanned leather, which is then decorated with metals or beads. Bikaner
is known for making a leather bottle out of the camel hide called kopi. Bikaner is famous for decorative saddles for horses and camels. The region is also adept in making beautiful lamp and lampshades out of leather.
The dexterity and the creativity that goes on to make the tie and dye textiles are marvelous. Laheriyas or the delicately created patterns in waves are dyed mostly in Udaipur, Jodhpur and along with this there are panchranga or five-coloured bandhej on sarees, odhnis or turbans. Kota in Rajasthan is famous for its self-checked weave cotton. Block printing is another form of craft, which has developed as a small-scale industry in the state. Old centers of this craft are Barmer
which is known for the unique ajrakh prints while Jaipur, Sanganer and Bagru emphasize more on the stylized Mughal inspired blocks like paisley and floral motifs. Chittor is known for its jajam prints. The handprints of cotton are known for their motifs in bright colours. It is not only colourful but an eco-friendly form of printing on textiles. Fabrics are printed with the help of wooden blocks and vegetable dyes.
Making different forms of jewelry items is also another form of craft. The traditional ones are the `kundan` and `jadau` jewelry where uncut precious gems are beautifully fixed on the twenty-four carat gold ornaments like necklace, rings and earrings. Enamellings or `minakari` work is another form of jewelry craft where the piece is fixed on a stick of lacquer and delicate floral designs engraved on it. The etchings are made in groves and the enamel colours are filled inside intricate miniature paintings. The `kundan` craft of Jaipur a part of the Mughal jewelry which has uncut stones set in open lacy gold work. The hollow portions of the ornament in which the stones are set are filed with gold of pure quality. In `jadau` the kundan style and the minakari technique is amalgamated to produce a different kind of design. Jadau is actually, gems in front and superb enamel
work on the reverse.