Handicraft

The Handicrafts of Jammu & Kashmir have acquired worldwide fame for their exquisite refinement and aesthetic elegance. These crafts have great diversity and demand.

There are nearly 2.50 lacs artisans directly dependent upon handicrafts in the State for their livelihood and there is still great potential for more employment to be generated in this sector if markets are expanded and demand is increased. Presently, our handicrafts earn around Rs.1700 crores as foreign exchange every year.

The shawls are embroidered in floral motifs, various designs available range from Neemdoor, Doordaar, Paladaar, Baildaar, Jaalis and Jammas, with the help of needle. Where as kani shawls are woven on looms with the help of kanis. Kanis are small eyeless bobbins used instead of the shuttle.

John lrwin in his well-known book, “Kashmir Shawls’ says.” The local tradition held so far is that the founder of the shawl industry was Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin (1421-72). Some other writers on the subject trace the origin of the industry to earlier times.

In order to give greater impetus to the development of handicrafts, the Government have been constantly introducing new programmes and schemes. Craft Bazars and Expos are being organized in many places in the country and in these exhibitions the artisans come directly into contact with the customers and sell their products without the intervention of the middlemen. The artisans have been able to earn crores of rupees through these diversified marketing out-lets. To ensure that artisan have enough liquidity the Government has introduced Artisan Credit Card Scheme under which the Government pays 10% interest subsidy on loans upto to Rs.1.00 lacs for a period of 5 years.

Handicrafts Department has launched its official website which I am sure will lead to popularization of our crafts and also generate further interest among the connoisseurs and prospective buyers.

Handicraft Products:-

Crewel:-

A special kind of embroidery done with a hook known as crewel is commonly used for drapery and upholstery. Rows of chain stitch done with hook from solid patterns usually rotating from centre & creating an embossed effect to add richness to the textile. Crewel embroidery is done on thick material popularly used for furnishing and usually carries floral and creeper designs. The designs are available in assortment of colours ranging from a single colour to multi colour embroidery. The width of the material is 54 inches and is available in running meterage. The price is related with the amount of embroidery done on the material. This craft is also available on bed spreads in various sizes ranging from single to king size.

Kashmiri Shawls:-

About Kashmir Shawls it is said “Of all Indian textiles none excels in beauty, colour, texture and design as the famous Kashmir Shawl”. Shawls are produced by two techniques, loom woven or kani shawls and the needle embroidered or sozni shawls. The basic fabric is of the three types – Shah Tush, Pashmina and Raffal. Shah Tush (King of wool) passes through a ring and is also known as Ring shawl. It comes from a rare Tibetan antelope living at a height of over 14000 ft in the wilds of the Himalayas. Pashmina is known world over as cashmere wool, it comes from a special goat (Capra hircus) living at an altitude of 12000 to 14000 ft reared by shephered nomads around famous pongkong lake in close vicinity of western Tibet. Raffal is spun out of marino wool tops and is a popular type of shawl.

The shawls are embroidered in floral motifs, various designs available range from Neemdoor, Doordaar, Paladaar, Baildaar, Jaalis and Jammas, with the help of needle. Where as kani shawls are woven on looms with the help of kanis. Kanis are small eyeless bobbins used instead of the shuttle.

John lrwin in his well-known book, “Kashmir Shawls’ says.” The local tradition held so far is that the founder of the shawl industry was Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin (1421-72). Some other writers on the subject trace the origin of the industry to earlier times.

Wood Carving:-

Carved walnut wood-work is among the most important crafts of Kashmir. Kashmir is now one of the few places in the world where walnut is still available at an altitude of 5500-7500 feet above see level. The wood is hard and durable, its close grain and even texture facilitating fine and detailed work. It also presents visually interesting effects with mere plain polished surfaces in fact in contemporary products, plain surfaces and small carvings are preferred, especially on trays, tables, bowls and similar items.

The Kashmir craftsman, however, rejoices in carving intricate and varied designs. A variety of carved products bear recurrent motifs of the rose, lotus, iris, bunches of grapes, pears and chinar leaves. Dragon motifs and patterns taken from kani and embroidered shawls all find their place in wooden objects with deep relief carving. A variety of articles, both decorative and utilitarian, ranging from small items like bowls, trays, cigarette boxes, wall plaques and table lamps to screens, bedsteads and larger items of furniture are carved in walnut wood. Four main types of carving are usually practised in Kashmir-raised, engraved, undercut and plain. The carving of furniture and smaller items is an elaborate process and involves high degree of skill and craftsmanship. The carving is done with the help of small indigenous tools. The art of wood carving is centred in the city of Srinagar.

Chain Stitch:-

Natively known as “Jalakdozi”, chain stitch rugs are the speciality of Kashmir. These rugs are made on “hessain cloth” or hand made cotton cloth, in continued stitch with superior woolen or silken yarn, with the help of a hook type tool natively called “Aurah”.

The designs range from floral patterns to animal and human forms traced by a designer, while the craftsman embroiders in two-ply or three ply woollen/silken yarn. The rug looks like a carpet in which the pile is substituted by the texture. Chainstitch rugs is used both as floor covering and wall hanging.

The rug is supported with cloth-lining to add to the durability. It comes in sizes 2×3, 3×5, 6×4, 6×9 and 9×12 feet.

Papier Machie:-

Papier Machie is one of the most popular of crafts practised in Kashmir. The tradition of the Kashmir Papier Machie has its origin rooted in the 15th century when king Zain-ul-Abidin invited accomplished artists and craftsmen from Central Asia.

A French term so commonly adopted in East and West and meaning “mashed paper” papier machine is in fact a unique combination of line and colour on moulded forms of a variety of objects. It involves ornamentation in colour over smoothened surfaces built up of paper pulp or layers of paper. Paper pulp is not always found effective and is some times replaced by other substitutes.

The colours painted on object are made from pigments diluted in water to which some glue is added to fix the ground on which it is used. The three categories of colours are — mineral (both actual and artificial) organic (both plants insects etc.) Vegetables. The final objects papier machie is given one or two coats of varnish which besides giving it shine serves as a protective agent.

Important designs and motifs in papier machie designs are: 

Gulander Gul (flower in flower) Hazara (the thousand flowers) Gul Vilayat (the dear flower) Miniature Mugal paints Mythological figures Animals Hunting scenes Battle Scenes The product range covers ring boxes, pill boxes, boxes of assorted shapes and sizes, flower vases, wall plaques, bowls, ashtrays, screens etc.

Namdha:-

A hand made felt rug that makes excellent floor covering, made of unspun wool or wool and cotton pressed and felted in specific proportions, the rug originally came from Yarkand, Sinkiang and stayed to become an indigenous craft.The felt is embroidered with a hook in bold designs and assortment of colours. The sizes range from 2’x3′, 3’x4′, 4’x6′ to 6’x9′ feet and 3′,4′,5′ 6′ dia in round shape. The quality depends upon percentage of wool in the felt, popularly made quality is 32% wool, 50% wool and 100% wool

Phool Kari:

A traditional craft, recently revived, is Phoolkari, Bagh or Shaloo embroidered in the phoolkari style was an essential part of the bride’s trousers till only a few decades back. A craft with its origin in Punjab Phoolkari, as the very name suggests is a style of embroidery of floral designs. The present day designs, however, are by no means limited to flowers alone and include a variety of other patterns.A variety of Phoolkari items like handkerchiefs, table covers, sofa and cushion covers, bed-spreads and wall hangings are now being produced on large scale that testifies to the increasing popularity of the craft among the local population.