History of Crafts of Uttar Pradesh
Hand printing in Uttar Pradesh is perhaps the oldest craft of the state and the country. It was a technique that Mughals borrowed from Persia and has still survived the wave of modernism. Besides that marble inlay word is another age old craft that was patronized the royals of Delhi sultanate. Zari work got equal importance during the time. It made way for textile industry to flourish in that region. Intricate jewellery work called meenakari was also popular in Uttar Pradesh and was common among the royals
. Zardozi craft
The most significant and renowned craft in the state is the craft of zardozi or silver and gold embroidery. In Varanasi, Agra, Lucknow, Rampur, Bareilly and Farrukhabad, zardozi or zari work is an age-old profession. Here exquisite zari embroidered bridal outfits and salwar kameezes are produced which have a huge market all over the country. Today the craft is not only confined to ladies outfits but have been included in bags, belts, caps, cushions and wall hangings. The craft is a major source of livelihood for thousands of families in the state
. Embroidery craft
Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh is known for fine embroidery called chikankari. Chikankari is intricate embroidery done on saris, kurtis and veils, which are in practice in the city for thousands of years. It is even more artistic because using white thread on a white background makes the designs. Prices of the finished products vary with design and have a relatively good market in the country as well as abroad. The motifs of chikankari vary from floral and vine themes to birds, animals and arabesques.
Jewellery making is also an old and popular craft of Uttar Pradesh. The craftsmen of Uttar Pradesh specialize in making lightweight gold and silver ornaments with emphasis on filigree and open work. Antique jewelry based on basra pearls, emeralds, rubies and diamonds are also available.
The beautiful and gorgeous Benarasi sarees, which are worn by the Bengali brides, have their origin in Varanasi. The Benarasi sarees exemplifies the unique craftsmanship of the craftspeople where gold and silver thread is used on fine silk. This craft has a rich tradition in the state and the Benarasi sarees is one of the most expensive sarees in India. Mubarakpur is an important silk center in the state, where various silk sarees are produced. The designs used here are nagai, which has gold circles all over with rich floral patterns in the pallu and the phulwar, which has floral patterns on the entire saree with a beautiful combination of colours.
Uttar Pradesh is known for weaving carpets, which have developed as a small-scale industry. Shahjahanpur, Mirzapur, Bhadohi are the hub of carpets in the state. They have their own distinct designs, which have various names like kethariwala jal, jamabaz, kandhari etc.
Muradabad in the state is renowned for the craft of metal wares. It is more famous for the coloured enamelling and intricate engravings. The nakashi type engravings are done on tinned surface and the khudai's engraving is done on the lac coated unpolished brass on which a pointed steel pencil is used to fill the design with lac of different colours. Contemporary metal items include bowls trays, ganeshas, stools etc. Saharanpur is well known for its carved and brass inlay furniture items, and other decorative items.
The various woods used for woodcraft include shisham, sal and dudhi, which are used to make well-finished screens, room dividers and furniture. Lot of innovation has gone on to give the furniture and other items of wood a contemporary look.
The city of Ferozabad in Uttar Pradesh is known for making beautiful glass bangles and other sophisticated items of glass. Varanasi has expert craftsmen who are trained to make glass beads that have a huge demand outside India. Saharanpur makes toys filled with colour liquid called panchkora.
Khurja has developed a different style of pots, which come in soothing autumnal colours like orange, brown and a special light red. Floral designs in sky blue are usually employed against a white background. The surahis or water pots of Rampur are very famous where the base is prepared from red clay and are noted for their green blue glazes on the plane surface. Pots are also made in Meerut and Hapur and are well known for their flowing lines and floral patterns. Glazed items like tableware are produced in Chinhat and Mausalia. The earthenware of Nizamabada and Azamgarh districts stand out from the rest for their dark lustrous body.
The well-known inlay work of precious stones like lapis lazuli and machelite on marble is the Pietra dura. It is best produced in Agra where delicate, exquisite and intricate mosaics in jewel like colours are produced. Agra and Vrindavan are renowned for alabaster figures, fret work traceries and jaali patters.
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Crafts of Uttar Pradesh