Wood Crafts Tradition



Items made of wood, affect each and every stage of human life. The range of utilitarian products and decorative pieces made from wood is immense.

Mother nature has blessed India with a vast number of tree species. India being a tropical country mainly has deciduous or evergreen trees. However one can find alpine forests and trees belonging to arid regions as well.

Woodcraft includes items such as finely carved figurines, furniture and accessories, windows, doors, boxes, decorative pieces, utensils, panels, beads etc.

Kashmir is the only state in India, where walnut trees grow. The craftsmen here create intricate carvings on wood obtained from the walnut tree. Furniture items like tables, chairs, stools, partitions etc have rich floral and trellis patterns carved on them. Carving done on walnut is either deep or shallow. Items like tables, fruit trays and bowls etc are also decorated with inlay work. Wax polishing is done on finished products, so that the beauty of the wood grain is not lost.

Rajasthan is known for articles and decorative objects made from locally obtained wood. Each region of Rajasthan has its own unique wood tradition. Barmer is well known for carved furniture.

Some furniture pieces like tables, low stools etc have miniature paintings on them. Carved wood items such as cabinets, screens, chairs, tables, almirahs, racks etc are highly ornate. Rajasthan is also known for wood figurines in the shape of animals, which are beautified with inlay work. Exquisite jali or latticework is also produced here. Craftsmen of Rajasthan also make delicately carved figures of deities on rosewood and sandalwood.

Woodcraft in Punjab is restricted to making of carved legs of beds and manjis and boxes.

Craftsmen from Madhya Pradesh use a variety of wood like shisham, teak, dhudi, sal and kikar for making household items. Woodcraft from the tribal belt of Bastar is known for figures of tribal deities, carved wooden memorials, masks etc.

Madhya Pradesh is also famous for painted and lacquered wood product such as toys, boxes, bedposts, cradles posts, flower vases etc. Gwalior, Sheopur-Kalan, Rewa and Budhni are main centers of wood lacquering.

Uttar Pradesh has many craft centers engaged in making different items out of wood. Saharanpur is known for vine-leaf patterns on Sheesham wood. Floral, geometric and figurative carving is also done here with wood inlay work. Inlay work is done with bone and plastic as ivory is banned in India. Mainpuri is famous for woodwork on ebony or black sheesham inlaid with brass wire. Banaras is known for lacquered toys and miniature utensils for children to play with.

Woodwork from Andhra Pradesh is varied. Kondapalli is known for brightly painted wooden toys, while Etikopakka is known for wood lacquer ware.

Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu too, have their distinct wood carving traditions. Karnataka is famous for carvings and decorative pieces made from sandalwood. Sandalwood items like, boxes, trays, key chains, small figurines are not only carved tastefully but they also give out subtle smell of sandal.

West Bengal and Kerala are known for items made from the wood obtained from coconut tree.

Handicrafts Trade
Suggested Reading