Ethinic Furniture


The availability of raw material and regional variations have long influenced furniture making in India. During the 19th century, Southern India was famous for densely carved ebony wood furniture, which was mainly used in royal furnishings. With time, however, ebony wood became rare and rosewood fulfilled the role of its immediate replacement in the South while walnut furniture became famous in the Kashmir valley.

Wooden furniture has always been known for its durability, elegance and design, which lends an aristocratic look to a particular room, be it an office or a home. The reason why Indian furniture has been regarded as prized possession is its ethnic flavour. In spite of rapid development in the tools and materials used, traditional Indian woodcarvers still use the simplest of tools and follow the style of their ancestors. This has helped a lot in keeping the traditional crafts alive. Block of the hardest wood is used as a mallet. Carving implements include flats of iron or steel, edges sharpened by the local blacksmiths. Measurement is just a simple matter of judgement, practicality and experience, which also makes the measuring tape redundant. Moreover, the products are highly durable and sport an elegant look with their neat, flawless finish coupled with an affordable price.

Among the many regional specialties, nothing can beat the Rajasthani and Gujarati woodcraft. The fabulous creations in wood, the antique look and the intricate craftsmanship are some of the reasons why the furniture from these two regions of India is always in demand both in India and abroad.


In some parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat colourful painting of furniture is quite common. Traditional designs and motifs are painted in colours, which are again traditional. The items that are generally available in this range are small chairs and tables, bajots and chowkis, stools with string seats, boxes, cabinets, mirror/picture frames, doors and windows.

In Rajasthan, the furniture that comes from Shekhawati holds its unique importance in the market. This furniture is made from local timbers like sheesham (Dalbergia sissoo), mango (Mangifera indica), and babool or kikar (Acacia nilotica). However, apart from the material used, the style alone accounts for a major bulk of wooden furniture exported from India. One can also get the preference in its finish, which could be between antique and exotic finish. Nowadays the option to make it look older is also gaining popularity. This is done by giving distressing treatment to the furniture. The items that are given this treatment mainly includes a large variety of cabinets, cupboards, almirahs, ethnic sofa sets, chairs, tables, frames, boxes and bajots, and many other decorative articles.

Barmeri furniture also holds its pride of place among the furniture varieties available in India. The name Barmeri is given after the small town of Barmer located deep in the heart of the Thar Desert of Rajasthan. The furniture of this region is known for its typical and very distinctive style. One can find a large range of domestic furniture like dining tables and chairs, sofa sets with centre tables, couches, cabinets, dressing tables, screens, bars, trolleys, and so on.

Like Rajasthan, Gujarati handicrafts are unique in its own ways. The history of Gujarati furniture is related to the Mughals who were great patrons of arts and crafts. The patronage of the Mughals especially for the woodcraft acted as the green signal to Persian inlay craftsmen to carry on their work and settle down in their respective workplaces.

The most renowned among Gujarati furniture is the Sankheda variety, named after a little town situated on the bank of the River Narmada. Sankheda furniture is known for its colourful toys and wooden furniture. The process of making Sankheda furniture involves skilled handwork and artwork, which, in turn, ensures durability and strength. It is a perfect choice for those who seek beauty, art and tradition in their life. These products are in high demand not only in India but also abroad. One can also see the Gujarati specialty in furniture making in the Wankaner Palace in Gujarat.

Some of the other Gujarati wood-crafted products include candle holders, decorative tableware, wooden fruit, nut and salad bowls, tray-cum-side table, dinner set serving and soup bowls, containers for pickles, range of cutlery, and so on.