Types of Crafts in Kerala
Kerala is famous for its carvings, cast bell metal work, jewellery, granite idols, pillars, coir, coconut shell products, carvings in wood, especially rosewood or sandalwood, snake boat models and other figurines. Drums like the chanda, maddalam, mridangam and edakka are carved out of single piece logs. The handicrafts of Kerala include the accessories for Kathakali dance and other popular dance forms, which are made out of wood or papier-mache. The craftsman of Kerala are also skilled in preparing beautiful flower vases, ash trays, ornamental plates, jewel boxes, miniature boats, elephants, idols, Kathakali masks and embroidery works etc.
Another beautiful tradition of Kerala handicrafts is using ivory, bamboo, palm leaves, seashells, coconut shells, clay, cloth, stone, etc. as raw material. Having abundance of forest and sea coasts, craftsmen use natural products as raw materials to create eco-friendly crafts. Now, the traces of these handicrafts of Kerala can be seen in palaces, old heritage homes, museums, etc.
Bell metal craft
The craftsmen of Kerala prepare several images of Gods and Goddesses with bell metal casting. The bell metal industry of Kerala is popular for the Aranmula metal mirror. This mirror is made of an alloy, which consists of 10 parts of copper and 5.50 parts of tin. The shape of this mirror is oval. A standard mirror measures about 6 inches in length and 0.50 inch in thickness and has a handle to be held. The art of preparing this Aranmula metal mirror is kept almost as the family secret for several years by the artisans.
Bamboo and Cane crafts
Bamboo and Cane are used to create eco-friendly items like coir mattresses, floor furnishings, mats and other colourful items. Bamboo and Cane crafts are an important part of the cottage industry in Kerala. Calicut and Kollam are the two places that produce these crafts.
Lacquer craft is a blend of wood craft and metal. The artistic woodcarvings created by artisans are given lacquer finish and the product is finally decorated with precious metals. The state of Ernakulum is popular for some of the best Lacquer crafts.
With a rich flora, the state of Kerala is haven for wooden crafts. The artisans carve beautiful items from different type of wood that ranges from daily utility products like furniture, utensils, pens, etc. to decorative products like statues, toys, pen holder, wall hangings, etc.
Coconut Shell crafts
Coconuts are one of the most abundantly occurring natural products in Kerala. Coconut shell is used to carve products like bowls, vases, tea pots and toys. Other products include lamp stands encased in brass and smaller coconut shell articles. Hookahs and large vases are a combination of coconut shell and brass bindings.
Banana Fibre crafts
The trunk of the Banana plant when treated gives a fine natural fibre. Apart from the traditional table mats and bags, wall hangings and mats of different shapes and sizes are also made out of this fibre. The traditional pattu saree in Kerala is woven using this fibre.
Kathakali is one of the oldest theatre forms in the world and traces its origin in Kerala. The Kathakali masks form prominent papier mache crafts that are available as little relics and showpieces reflecting the culture of Kerala. Including the elaborate headgear, painted face and long black hair of the Kathakali costume, these curios are made out of papier-mache.
The crafts of ivory are very delicate as the entire carving is done on animal teeth especially Elephant Tusk. The Ivory handicrafts of Kerala are world famous. The best type of ivory crafting can be seen in the mythological figures.
Mural Paintings of Kerala mirrors Hindu Mythology and legends which are drawn on the walls of temples and churches. History of this art is traced between 9th to 12th centuries CE. Colors are prepared from vegetable and mineral pigments to create vibrant work of art.
Some other important handicrafts of Kerala include the Koftgari works, marquetry in wood, buffalo horn carving, screw pine mat making, palmyra leaf weaving, and kora grass mat making. The embroidery and lace making, lapidary work, granite carving, lacquer work, cotton map making, toys and dolls, jewellery, are also some of the valuable handicrafts of Kerala.
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Crafts of Kerala