Lac Craft of West Bengal
Over years, lac crafts have evolved beautifully in West Bengal furnishing a wide plethora of articles. Decorative items made of lac like wall hangings, flower vase, photo frames, table top decorations, pen stands, lamps etc are highly popular. Ornaments made of lac are also one of the most attractive items of lac crafts of this region. Bangles, necklaces, hair pins and other jewelleries come in different shapes and designs, sometimes adorned with gemstones, mirrors or stones. The designs found on the lac crafts of West Bengal are a fusion of traditional and contemporary styles. Wall hangings with mythical figures and religious themes are a speciality of West Bengal lac crafts.
Lac Crafts of Orissa
Lac crafts of Orissa have also flourished a great deal. Lac craft in this region is famous for its traditional artefacts. Lac is extensively cultivated in Orissa which has served as a concrete reason of the growth of this industry. The great demand of lac artefacts among the people has further contributed in the emergence of a number of skilled craftsmen in this state. A variety of articles like coasters, boxes, decorative idols, jewellery, flower pots etc are prepared by the artisans engaged in this craftwork. Traditional combs made of lac are another highly popular item of lac crafts. Nowrangapur in Koraput region of Orissa are especially renowned for traditional combs of different styles. These combs come in a variety of shapes like circular and quadrangular and are decorated with beautiful motifs. Lacquered bamboo crafts are another speciality of Orissa. In this craft various items made of bamboo are coated with colourful lac. Exclusive designs including attractive borders and variety of motifs add to the charm of these crafts.
Lac Crafts of Bihar
Lac crafts of Bihar have also acquired a prominent fame. Laheri and Lakhera are the two main castes of Bihar who are engaged in lac bangle making since ages. Lac jewelleries of Bihar are famous in the entire country, especially the bangles made of lac. Lac crafts are mainly practiced by the people belonging to the Munda, Mo, Santhal, Oraon and Bhumij tribes of Bihar. Apart from tribal people, local artisans have also adopted lac craftwork as their main occupation. Round conical box is another highly popular item of lac crafts of Bihar and is associated with traditional values. This red coloured box contains a nose ring which is presented to a bride by her parents. Symbols of longevity and fertility are inscribed on it. Cottage industries of Muzaffarpur area of Bihar is famous for attractive bridal bangles made of lac. Exclusive designs and dazzling hues are the most charming feature of these bangles. Traditional bangles of Bihar are also made of lac and are adorned with mirror pieces, stones are other decorative stuffs. Vermillion container (also known as 'sindurdan') is another exquisite lac craft with are embellished with traditional motifs of fish, peacock or chakra and are decorated with stones, glass pieces, gold wires etc. Other common products of lac craft of Bihar include lamp shades, serving bowls, wall hangings and other decorative items.
Making of Lac Crafts
Lac is collected from various insects and is thoroughly purified before using them to craft various articles. Lac crafts are prepared by adept artisans following a series of complicated procedures. Lac is either used to shape up an article or is used for coating any item. The inner core is generally formed by a poor quality of lac, also known as refuse lac. The outer covering which is mainly for decorative purpose utilizes good quality of lac. Strengthening of the inner core is done by mixing white clay. Before crafting the articles, the mixture of raw materials is firstly mixed, heated and pounded by hammer to form dough. This dough is then shaped in various ways using different instruments. After polishing the articles, these are decorated with various gemstones, glass pieces, gold or silver wires and other metals.
Lac Craft of Eastern India are one of the most versatile arts. Huge variety of articles is furnished by this craftwork which serves a number of purposes. Lac crafts are traditional as well as highly trendy in nature for which it attracts a large number of people with varying choices.