Crafts of Rajasthan

 

 

Jewelry

Jaipur’s Johari Bazaar or Jeweler’s mart has row upon row of shops selling handcrafted jewellery. Loose precious and semi-precious stones are crafted all together into an excellent range of the country’s most dramatic settings in gold. Kundan, a style of inlay setting of unpolished diamonds and other stones and Meenakari or the art of enamelled gold jewelry, are exclusive to Jaipur.

Gems and Stones

Jaipur is the world’s largest gem cutting centre and therefore the best place to pick up strings of garnets, amethysts or quartz at prices so low that they are difficult to believe. Of course, if your pocket stretches a little more, then the stones to pick up here should also include rubies, emeralds and diamonds.

The traditional silver jewelry-chains, bangles, belts, anklets, earrings-is manufactured by bangle makers all over Rajasthan. To make it the collector’s items, the jewelry is studded with glass, stones and painted with a rich patina of colors too.

 
Blue Pottery

Apart from hand block printed fabrics, Sanganer is also famous for producing handmade paper and blue pottery. The art of making glazed blue pottery, though originally from Persia, was brought to Jaipur by Sawai Ram Singh II. This unique art of pottery that does not use clay but resorts to crushed quartz instead, went into decline with the withdrawal of royal patronage. It was given a fresh lease of life by renowned artist Kripal Singh Shekhawat.

Leather Craft

You can’t go far in Rajasthan without wanting to possess a pair of the handcrafted slip-on shoes called jootis. The leather is tanned and dyed and made into incredibly soft yet remarkably sturdy footwear. As you wear your pair of jootis, it will take on the shape of your foot, making them comfortable in a way no shoe can. The upper part of the jooti is embellished with embroidery, studded with brass nails or cowrie shells, punched, sequined, stitched-the decorations and designs varying with the region. Should you desire them, they are available in plain too.

Bikaner is famous for using the inner hide of the camel in an extraordinary fashion. The hide is scraped till it becomes translucent and then molded into lampshades, vases, perfume vials and photo frames. Bikaner is also famous for its hand-knotted woolen carpets and Jaipur for its extensive range of cotton rugs called durries.

Woodcarving

Jodhpur and Ramgarh in the Shekhawati region are important centers of woodcarving. Intricately carved doors, windows, dowry chests, picture, and mirror frames are produced on the same lines as craftsmen produced centuries ago. To make them look aged, these reproductions are acid washed, left out in the open under the sun, chipped and marked.

Paintings

Paintings are a special buy and many Indian homes patronize Rajasthani painters. Pichwais are the least expensive, unless they are painted by a master artist and finished in gold. Miniature paintings re-enact historical episodes or mythical tales in Schools that have come to be identified with the different kingdoms that merged in Rajasthan. Udaipur and Jaipur miniatures can be recognized by their fine brush strokes, the Bundi and Kotah kalams are known for their scenes of battle and of shikar (hunts) while the Kishangarh School does portraits with Radha-Krishna as the principal characters. Nathdwara, a place of pilgrimage close to Udaipur, furnishes paintings of Krishna in a characteristic style.

Udaipur with its Shilpgram has a wealth of terracotta panels and figures. Barmer is known for the quality of its mirror-embossed embroidery. From Jaisalmer come the warm though coarse shawls and blankets woven with geometrical motifs and patterns.

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