Types of Crafts in Sikkim
Sikkim is a reservoir of eye-catching handicraft and handlooms like carpets, wood carved furniture, thankas and canvas wall hangings. Sikkimese carpets are especially known for being hand knotted with artistic designs. The Government of Sikkim is making constant efforts to keep the arts & crafts alive.
One of the traditional practices of Sikkim is carpet weaving. The women of Sikkim are known to be the oldest weavers in the world. The women of Bhutia community are experts in this craft. The warp is created from cotton and is stretched on a frame. The woolen thread is introduced and a long metal rod is laid along the wrap threads. Different colours of wool and rods are used in the pattern. After three to four rods, the loops are cut and a pile is created. The patterns commonly employed are stylish floral motifs or dragon holding a ball in his mouth. Geometrical patterns, patterns from the Buddhist iconography and designs representing nature are also quite common. The carpets of Sikkim are renowned for their woolen textures, which is durable, plush and dyed in traditional vegetable Sikkimese dyes.
Woolen handloom products of Sikkim are fashionable and at the same time warm. The shawls with Sikkimese motifs like dragons, prayer wheels and natural sceneries are quite popular among the tourists. Kukri or the Gurkha blade as it is known is equally popular among the people. People of Sikkim believe in recycling some of their woolen products which help them to save money and follow fashion at the same time. They intelligently design the old and used woolen blanket into bags, shawls, jackets and dolls.
Thangka painting is another craft of Sikkim which is well known for its artistic value and religious significance. The subject of these paintings revolves around the life of Buddha and his teachings. There are generally three types of thangkas. The first type depicts scenes from Lord Buddhas life. The second type talks about general belief of Buddhist people about life. And the third type of painting is used for meditation and as an offering to Gods. Thangka paintings are designed on cotton canvas with vegetable dyes as colours. In the earlier days, the making of Thangkas was limited to monks and priests only. But now other communities are also showing interest in Thangka paintings.
Sikkim is also popular for its elegant wood carving. Monasteries in Sikkim are the best places to see the creativity of wood carvings. The walls of the monasteries feature wood engrossed with symbols and icons from Buddhism. Also the masks worn during various performances are generally made of wood which exhibit intricate decorations. Wood made Choktse tables of Sikkim are also popular. These tables are foldable and have some beautiful designs made on all the sides.
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