Lac crafts of Bihar have reached to its distinct position due to the availability of the raw material from the nearby forest and the easy accessibility of the adept artisans. In Bihar, costume jewelleries are made with lac and are considered as an important part of the lac craft. Lac bangles are very famous as a tribal ornament in the state. Northern Bihar is the centre where the material for lac bangle core is available. The lac bangles have an inner-core which is covered by a thin layer of better quality coloured lac. White clay is used to strengthen the core. The dry ingredients are heated, mixed together, kneaded and pounded with a hammer. This process is repeated until the mass forms similar type of dough like substance. When the heating and shaping are done, the lac is expanded and the diameter is given a bangle like thickness. The shapes of the bangles are made by pressing the lac length into coloured grooves on each side of a wooden forming block or mould. The married women of the aboriginal tribal people of Bihar including Bhumij, Mo, Munda, Oraon and Santal tribes wear several decorated lac bangles as a part of their attire.
One of the most popular and traditional items of lac crafts of Bihar is the round conical box. Traditionally, this box is presented by the parents of the bride with a nose ring at the time of marriage and the box is embellished with interesting symbols of fertility and longevity inscribed on its red body. The other colourful and ornamental articles are chapatti boxes and dry fruit containers. Apart from these items the artisans of Bihar create exclusive lampshades, toddlers push carts, serving bowls, bangles etc. 'Sindurdan' or the vermilion container, the traditional decorative piece is made by 'laheris' community. The boxes are beautifully decorated with the motifs of fish, chakra and peacock. The artisans use glass beads, decorative wire, small bits of geometrically shaped or flower shaped mirrors and gold foil, wire and glass seed beads to ornate the decorative pieces.
The lac crafts of Bihar also include bridal bangle making, which is predominantly the cottage industry of the Muzaffarpur area. Most of the houses are engrossed in making this absolutely imaginative craft with their vivid imagination and inherent artistry. The craftsmen make pink, flaming orange, brilliant vermilion, regal purple bangles including other dazzling colours to bedeck the wrists of a bride. The traditional ritual of bangle wearing is predominant in Bihar in which the bride-to-be is made to wear turmeric colored bangles that are suitably embellished with pieces of glinting mirrors, brilliant tinsel and painted stripes.
The lac crafts of Bihar have a distinct quality that creates a fusion with the simplicity of the people and with the beauty of the land. The creations stand as the instances of the tradition of the soil and the customs of the state.
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