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ARTS AND CRAFTS, INDIA

 
 
India is a storehouse of art forms from paintings that flourished from earlier periods, to its sensitive tradition of crafts. Its living traditions are a testimony to numerous art styles. From paintings in caves, temples to even roofs and courtyards of homes, Indians have in the arts, sought a spiritual contentment. Some art forms are homage to Gods, and are laced with humility. Artists believed that since art served a specific purpose of addressing the divine, there was no need to add their signatures to the artworks.

 
 
 

  ARTS AND CRAFTS IN INDIA

 
Indian arts and handicrafts have, since time immemorial, captivated the imagination of people globally. Every state in India boasts of an exclusivity and speciality, depending upon its historical influences, traditional skills, and raw materials. India is world renowned for its dexterity in paintings, exquisite embroidery, beautiful sculptures in stone, metal, wood. temple carvings and elegantly designed jewellery.Paintings appeared on pots found in the Indus Valley Civilization as early as the 3rd century B.C. The cave paintings of Ajanta and Ellora date back to the 1st to 5th century A.D.While the art exists today, it is not as refined and most of it finds itself on roadsides where it is picked up by tourists. It existed in different forms in Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Buddhist deities, Jain forms, tales from the Ramayana and Mahabharata dominate. The paintings are replete with motifs of flora and fauna in bold and striking colours, with human figures in brilliantly designed turbans and outfits.
 
   

   CAVE PAINTINGS

 
The artists applied mud plaster in two coats on the rocks. The first coat was used to fill in the pores of the rough rocks, followed by a coat of lime plaster. The painting was done in stages. The outline was made in red ochre and then filled in with brown, deep red or black. The pigments for the paints were from local volcanic rocks with the exception of lamp black. Because animal and vegetable glues were used, the paintings were attacked by insects, and suffered from blistering and flaking.In the later paintings where the figures stand out boldly, deep colour washes were used. Patches of light colours highlighted facial expressions and various methods were used to create an illusion of depth.
 
   

  AJANTA PAINTINGS

 
A high degree of craftsmanship incorporating all the rules laid down by ancient Indian treatises on paintings and aesthetics are evident here. One cannot bur notice the fluid yet firm lines, long sweeping brush strokes outlining graceful contours, subtle gradation of the same colour, highlighted nose, eyelids and lips that make the figures transpire from the flat wall surface. Animals, birds, trees, flowers, architectures are painted in their true form of beauty. Human emotions and characters are depicted with great understanding and skill.Attenuated postures, supple limbs, artistic features, a great variety of hair styles and styles of ornaments and jewellery painted in the Ajanta caves indicate the skill of its artisans. In a mural in Cave 10, fifty elephants are painted in different poses. The bulky forms are portrayed in all perspective views, with erect tails and raised trunks, showing them sensing danger.
 
   

  DESIGNS ON FLOOR

 
Rangoli, also known as Alpana and Kolam, is the art of decorating floors and walls of houses using the powder of white stone, lime or rice flour, with bare Fingers in place of a brush. Most Rangoli designs are motifs of plants and animals, though there are geometrical designs as well. Each state has its own styles of painting. On special occasions, it is painted in every home, with or without formal training. Women compete with each other to draw a new design for every occasion. Rangoli is used as a tool for propitiating the Cods.
 
   

  MADHUBANI PAINTINGS

 
A folk art, Madhubani paintings are done by women living near the market town of Madhubani in Bihar. The representational but stylized and symbolic Madhubani tradition incorporates the great life-cycle rite of marriage. It portrays some of the major Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu pantheon and domesticated and wild animals. The figures from nature and mythology have been painted through centuries on household walls to mark seasonal festivals of the religious year and for special events such as marriages.The women came to be acknowledged as "artists" only in the last three decades. It was a major drought in 1966-68 that brought the region into world recognition, resulting in the All-India Handicrafts Board taking notice. It then started encouraging the women artists to produce their traditional paintings on handmade paper for commercial sale. Even now, most of the work remains anonymous as some of them being illiterate remain reluctant to consider themselves individual producers of "works of art".Commercialization of the folk art has been a mixed blessing. It has generated a multilevel distribution system. It has also allowed people around the world to discover a style of art with a long heritage linked to the lives of women, one that has preserved its authenticity. And, one that has created a new source of gainful employment for rural Indian women. The continuing market in this art throughout the world is a tribute to the resourcefulness of the women of Madhubani who have successfully transferred their techniques of bhitti chitra or wall-painting to the medium of paper and have resisted the temptation to adapt their traditional designs too freely in pursuit of unpredictable public tastes.
 
   

  ART OF BODY PAINTING

 
Painting the body in stylized designs with henna paste, is an ancient practice followed in India during festive and special occasions like marriages. Henna (Mehendi in the north) or Maruthani as it is known in Tamil Nadu, is derived from the leaves of the henna plant. The leaves are ground into a thick paste, and applied in geometric designs on the palms and soles of the feet and left to dry. Once washed off, a red pigmentation is left behind on the applied area. This style of decoration is also used by dancers on their feet. Henna is a proven coolant for the body and is now used for medicinal purposes the world over and also as a hair dye. Shekhawati India's Open Air Art Gallery.Shekhawati in North East Rajasthan that once fell on the Spice route of merchants, is an open air treasure. Its numerous painted homes linings the streets of small towns make the region the largest open air art gallery m the world.The architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries consists of an exaggerated display of the wealth of the merchants of the region (Marwaris). This region is special, as it has produced the maximum number of millionaires and billionaires in India. Shekhawati is named after its ruler Rao Shekha of the I5th century. Strategically placed on the route between the ports of Gujarat and northern India, the region became very prosperous by imposing levies on the caravans of traders passing through. When the region's fortunes fell after the development of new ports like Mumbai and Kolkata, the merchants migrated en masse. The paintings convey that the prosperous merchants must have been very impressed by their overseas travels as there are several paintings of English ladies, motorcars, gramophones and even the Wright brothers!Prominent towns of the region are Nawalgarh, Mandawa, Mahansar, Mukundgarh, Lachhmangarh. Singhana, Parsrampura, Khetri, Baggar and Jhunjhunu.
 
   

  CONTEMPORARY PAINTINGS

 

The blossoming of contemporary art in India has become evident to the international art community only recently. As artists in India have adapted traditional imagery and ideas to modern artistic practice, the nation has begun to contribute to the multiplicity of variations on modernism reflective of non-western cultures. Artists working with oil acrylic are in demand in India. Their works are not intended to serve any functional purpose, but as in modern Western canvases, are modes of self-expression.Contemporary art from India presents two distinct yet coexisting cultures that create art-folk and tribal and the other, urban and modern.Maqbool Fida Husain is one of the best known artists in the subcontinent. The most influential painter since the 1950s, his subject matter is pointedly local and indigenous. While some of his work is neo-cubistic, he has used the spectrum of Indian myths and folklore to striking effects. Other known artists include Satish Gujaral, whose work draws inspiration from a painful and emotionally surcharged past. When the true chronicle of contemporary Indian art will be written, Tyeb Mehta will be seen as one of its benefactors. In F. N. Souza's veins seems to run a trace of the determined Vasco da Gama blood. He also seems to have been baptized in the church of the bull painting Spanish master. And if we call this artistic fun, the painter has had plenty of it. Master painter Krishen Khanna has done very different orders of work throughout the years, right from the Japanese Sumie to Che Guvera, and now there is the search into his own roots of much distinction.

 
   

  CRAFTS TRADITIONS

 
A creator becomes one with the Supreme Being when involved in giving shape to his art form. He who is able to see things with a perceptive eye and is able to equate the form to matter, space and energy creates. This tradition has been established in India from 3,000 B.C. Nature's creations have been adapted by the artisans, be it in making pots, plates, nutcrackers hairpins, combs or utensils.Indian handicrafts have made a name for themselves the world over. Ancient skills have been perfected by craftsmen who have learnt the trade from their fathers, as did their fathers before them. This tradition continues over the centuries, safeguarding the wide and varied artistic wealth of India. Today, this tradition unfolds itself in an overwhelming variety of products, combining aesthetic appeal with utilitarian value. To satisfy modern tastes and meet international demand, design institutes have been giving a new look to these traditional crafts. These beautiful items are like a breath of fresh air in an age of mechanisation and mass production. The high calibre of skills exhibited in creating the products has stood the test of time. What's more, craftsmen have shown great ingenuity and flexibility in adapting to the requirements of the modern age.
 
   

  METAL WORK

 
The use of metals symbolised man's understanding of his mortality and his innate desire to leave for posterity, his creations, which would withstand the vagaries of time. Deities were made both as solid casting and hollow casting, and some ancient books, the Shastaras, laid down proportions to enable the artisans to create exquisite figures in relation to human eyes' perception. The deities were adorned with glittering jewels and even the prayer items used in temples and households were beautifully designed and crafted.Everywhere in India, one finds idols and statues in temples and on the streets. For a people so given to idol worship, it was natural to develop sculpting skills of the highest order. Brasswork from the princely state of Jaipur, the black stylized vases and urns from Pembarthi and polished brass mirrors of Aranmula have today evolved into design statements. Metal and bronze sculptures of South India continue in an unbroken lineage from the Chola period dating back to a thousand years.In all villages and towns, blacksmiths are intrinsic to the milieu, producing cooking utensils and stoves in addition to kitchen accessories including spatulas, knives and hammers. The spectrum of metalsmiths in India includes the simple blacksmiths serving the needs of agricultural communities to the sophisticated 'kammalar' community of metalsmiths who claim descent from Vishwakarma.The Buddhist blacksmith community of Ladakh carry out the most interesting brass work, making kitchen stoves, 'thap chabrik' with decorative brass Buddhist motifs. Bell metal, an alloy of copper and tin is used extensively in Kerala to cast cooking vessels. In addition, beautiful lamps made for temples are over five feet high with circular recesses to hold the oil for lighting.The elegant bidri work of Bidar and Hyderabad has brass inlaid upon an alloy or silver and copper and blackened by dipping the object in a copper sulphate solution. This craft was brought into India from Iraq 900 years ago and continues to be practiced. The adaptable folk idiom, has produced a plethora of objects for hunting. fishing besides lamps, ornaments and toys particularly in West Bengal, Orissa and Bihar. In their simplicity, emerges a unique view of nature through the age old processes of metalwork.
 
   

  SCULPTURE - THE ESSENCE OF LIFE

 
The ancient treatise on sculpture, the Silpashastra tells us a story that captures quintessence or the art.
There once lived a devout king called Vajra. One day he requested sage Markandeya to teach him the art of iconography. The sage asked him a few questions before handing him the first lump of metal. "Do you know how to paint?" asked the sage. The king did not, but requested that he be taught it that was a pre-requisite to learning sculpture. "But for that you need to know how to dance,'' insisted the sage. To learn dancing, in turn the king was required to have a rudimentary knowledge of instrumental music, which needed a foundation in vocal music. So the king had to begin with the octaves to be able to pour his sensibilities into any other material and make a form out of it.Little wonder then, that the beauty of Indian bronzes lies in their efficient capturing of all these artistic forms within the figures created.There is a unified aspect of culture evident when one sees the fluidity of movement in the bronze figures. With Shiva (one of the Gods of Hindu Trinity) symbolizing the cosmic forces of nature, dance becomes the epitome of life's rhythmic motion. The sthapathi or craftsman seeks to capture this motion in bronze. The evolved technique and the material used contribute to the magnificence of the end product.While bronze iconography is age-old, it was only around the 10th century A.D. that there was a large-scale revival of this art form. At this time, there was a strong religious fervour in the southern states following the waning of the influence of Buddhism and Jainism. During the Chola reign the presiding deity was constructed in granite. But there was a need for more idols that could be carried around the village or town on festive occasions. Granite was too heavy for this purpose and so came the alloy of five metals symbolising the five elements. The metals were copper, brass and lead with a little bit of gold and silver.Generally, deities are made from bronze. The favourite ones being Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati, Ganesha (the elephant faced one) and Lord Rama (the incarnation of Vishnu). After the Cholas, the degree or finesse faded away from this art and newer styles did evolve.
 
   

  JEWELLERY STYLES

 
From ancient times, jewellery in India has not been mere ornamental or decorative items, but has gained the status of providing proof of various stages of a person's life. For instance, piercing a child's ear signifies its entry into the world, the man wearing the sacred gold thread from left to right shoulder, signifies his entry into educational age, while the tali (Mangalsutra) for women indicates they are married. Gold, silver, copper and bronze are the metals that have been used traditionally for making jewels which were also inlaid with precious gems and beads, that acted as talisman for protection from various evils.Filigree work has patterns of flowers, butterflies, birds and geometrical shapes made with silver wires of varying thickness creating a delicate lace-like appearance. Orissa and Andhra Pradesh specialize in this style.Meenakari and Kundan are styles from Jaipur and Delhi influenced by the Mughals. The jewellery can be worn on both sides. The temple jewellery of Nagercoil has traditional gold ornaments studded with red and green semiprecious stones. In Assam, soft 24 carat gold is fashioned into earrings and necklaces modelled on local flora and fauna. For instance, earnings resembling orchids.In Nagaland, gold is used to craft imitations of the human head and long funnel shaped beads are used in combination with shells, animal claws and teeth and precious and semiprecious stones. The designs in solid gold jewellery of Tamil Nadu and Kerala are inspired by nature.Silversmiths of Himachal Pradesh craft large delicate and intricate ornaments. Headdresses called chak, long earrings and large nose-rings with papal Seat or bird motif's are the specialties of the region. In Ladakh, silver charm boxes and headdresses called perak with rows of turquoise, cornelian, coral and agate stitched onto it, are a common sight.
 
   

  CARPETS AND TEXTILES OF INDIA

 
Travelling through India can be a sartorial adventure. Each region has an abundance of traditional outfits. The colours and the weaves are unique in each state and the ornamentation or printing, mirrors the images of the region. The peacock motifs of Lucknow, the chinar leaf of Kashmir, the royal scenes of Kanchipuram and the checks and stripes or Maharashtra, all add to make a collage rich and vibrant in colour, design and fabric.Traditional Indian textiles have romantic origins that date back several centuries. References to weaving proliferate right from the Vedas. With the birth of weaving, associated accessories like needle work and embroidery followed. The artisans from each region formed their own styles, drawing inspiration from nature.No other land envoys such a profusion of creative energies for the production of textiles. Styles of weaving and the choice of textiles are dependent on the topography of the region and the influences of the various cultures prevalent.India's legendary textiles have remained unchanged in their timelessness. Carpets, silks and cottons were tabled export treasures when India was a maritime superpower in ancient times. Here carpet making closely follows the shawl-weaving tradition with designs based on Persian and Central Asian styles.The important centres of carpet weaving in India are Srinagar in Kashmir, Jaipur in Rajasthan, Amritsar in Punjab. Mirzapur and Agra in Uttar Pradesh and Warangal and Elluru in Andhra Pradesh. Amritsar, a late entrant, developed us industry only at the start of the !9th century. It has a tradition of weaving fine quality rugs with geometrical patterns called Mouri. Jaipur, Mirzapur and Bhadoi produce quality carpets, which vary from 80 knots to 120 knots per square inch. In Andhra Pradesh, geometrical- patterned carpers of quality of around 30 to 60 knots per inch are mostly meant for export.A variety of floor coverings are used in Indian homes. The durree is a cotton-woven thick fabric meant for spreading on the floor. Weaving of a durree is a common sight in most Indian villages. The flat woven rugs can be found all over India. Some areas only produce cotton durries, but those in Jodhpur, Rajasthan include cotton, wool and silk. The geometric designs are produced by tapestry technique which is a slow process using separate bobbins or butterflies for each colour across the width interlocking with the adjacent coloured yarn. A thick jute cloth is used and then it is embroidered fully so that the base material is not visible. The Gabba is a kind of an applique work done on worn out woollen blankets.
 
   

   SAREES AND FABRICS

 
Cottons are still woven in a myriad of colours and block-printed in animal and floral motifs in every little alleyway of India. Jewel toned sarees from the southern temple town of Kanchipuram are an anachronism in the nifty black-dress culture that's swept all global capitals. Bengal offers Baluchari silk sarees and crisp cotton ones. The bridal brocade sarees, sometimes embedded with semi-precious stones and sparkling gold threaded beads from Varanasi transform well into the modern apparel sensibility as stoles and scarves. Gold Muga silks from Assam are terrific yardage for dresses, as are the vibrant raw silks from Mysore.Illkal sarees from Karnataka and the Narayanpet textiles from Andhra Pradesh are also much sought-after. Gadwal and Wanaparti produce materials of thick cotton, mostly in checks with a contrasting silk border. Nander is famous for its fine quality cottons sarees richly worked in sold thread with silk border. Venkatagiri manufactures sarees of the Jamdani technique with stylized motifs woven in half cotton and half gold threads. Bandhani materials are made using resist-dyeing techniques popularly called Tie and Dye (internationally this technique is known by its Malay-Indonesian name 'Plangi'). These patterns are commonly seen on long scarves, sarees, turbans. The prosperous state of Gujarat and the princely land of Rajasthan have long been famous for the cultivation of cotton and the use of bright colours obtained through the dyeing process.However, the European development or synthetic dyes in the mid 19th century ended the export market for colourful textiles as well as the natural dyes. The technical skills of vegetable dyeing were lost to all but a minority of textile craftsmen. However, today there is renewed interest in natural dyeing due to bans being imposed by Governments, because of health risks from numerous synthetic dyes developed.
 
   

   WOODWORK

 
The tradition of wood-carving has existed in India from ancient times. The early wood-carved temples bear witness to the craft. Wood-carved temples exist till date in Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. In India, each region has developed its own style of carving influenced by local traditions and wood varieties. Folk forms in woodwork include toys, puppets and religious objects and carvings.North India has a tradition of carved wooden doors with intricate designs, brass inlay and trellis work for the windows.Assam, with extensive forests, has a rich tradition of woodwork. Most places of worship include large carvings of mythical figures like halt-man, Garuda, Hanuman and lion. In West Bengal, A number of wooden masks are also made for the traditional Sahi Jatra.Nagaland has a tradition of manufacturing statues as well as commemorative pillars in wood.
 
   

   STONE CARVING

 
The art of stone carving developed in India, a little later than wood carving. From ornate inlay with onyx black marble to the finely latticed soapstone, the appeal of the stone has been eternal. Both Hindu and Muslim rulers of India patronized this art. Bodh Gaya, a pilgrim site for the Buddhists also has an ancient tradition of stone carving.Nothing epitomizes best the ethos of Varanasi and Agra than their stone carvings. From intricate architectural masterpieces, perfectly chiselled stoneware to table-tops with inlay work, every item is a piece of exclusive artwork. For centuries, Mathura and Varanasi remained at the centre stage of development. Jaipur is one of the most important centres where a large community of stone carvers carve deities in marble.In Orissa, soft stones are used for carving small souvenir items, meant for sale to the tourists. Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu has hard granite stone carvings. There is also a school for training the Sthapathis according to the rules of the Shilpa Shastras. In Karnataka, Devanahalli a village near Mysore produces carved figures in relief on black stone. The figures appear to have movement and strength in their postures. The figures nor only have the effect of light and shade and a rounded form but also a linear quality. Durgi, in Andhra Pradesh is another stone carving centre where large nandis, bulls, and local deity images are carved.Ivory carving is one of the most ancient crafts of India. Ivory is a precious material and a difficult one to carve. The important centres for ivory carving were Trivandrum in Kerala, Mysore and Bangalore in Karnataka, Delhi, Jaipur and Jodhpur in Rajasthan, Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Amritsar in Punjab, Benrampore in West Bengal and Ganjam and Puri in Orissa. Of late this craft is dying as the Indian Government has banned elephant poaching and ivory-work. Hence the carvers are turning onto other crafts, in particular, bone carving. The tribals are usually associated with this craft. The Himalayan tribals practice this craft for making ritual items. In Orissa, bone carvings of animal figures are common.
 
   

   TERRACOTTA

 
Terracotta is another expression of Indian art presented through clay. Pottery and earthenware are distinctly utilitarian and often decorative while porcelain and studio pottery belong to the realm of art.Terracotta is also used for offerings to the numerous Gods in the Hindu pantheon. Hence, each region has a distinct design, content and body. Bengal has the largest array of the finest specimens of temple terracotta panels. Even in South India, numerous offerings of terracotta horses and elephants are made to a deity called Aiyanar who is believed to ride them.There is usually an intriguing symbolism in the size and form of each. For instance while the horse is big, the rider by comparison is small. There are a variety of objects specially produced for restive occasions, such as lamps for Diwali, toys for Dusshera, pots for seedlings at Sankranti and colourful kalash (pots) for marriages.Many products are also used for decoration and make great gifts. Some of which are ashtrays, flower-vases, tea sets, pottery, paperweights and decorative animal figures. Delhi is famous for its 'Blue' pottery that uses an eye-catching Persian blue dye to colour the clay. Blue pottery is glazed and high-fired which makes it tougher than the others. Another version, the Jaipur blue pottery is unique. Some of this pottery is semi-transparent and generally decorated with animal and bird motifs. Decorative items such as ashtrays, vases, coasters, small bowls and boxes for trinkets, are made using Egyptian paste and fired at very low temperatures.
 
   

   POTTERY STYLES IN USE

 
Not readily available outside Bengal, is the Mansa pottery. It represents the snake goddess and is a quaint, double curved pot with a face painted on it. Similarly, the Dakshinirai pots, found in the Sunderbans area, are round with a mouth signifying a crown. Khurja, in Uttar Pradesh, a three hour drive from Delhi, is also well known for its inexpensive but tough tableware. Produced on a mass scale, fired at high temperatures, these pottery items retain their mud colour and are in great demand.Rajasthan pottery has certain distinct characteristics. The mouths of water pots are small, probably to prevent spilling.Alwar is noted for its paper-thin pottery, known as kagzi (paper) pottery.Goa's earthenware has a charm of its own. A wide range of figures and panels, apart from attractive water and flowerpots, are made here.Interesting buys are the black pottery and chillum (clay pipe) from Tamil Nadu. At Kottaikorai in Pondicherry, the slat-glazed pottery has a texture of orange peel. The painting is done before firing and most of the items are utilitarian - starting from candle-stands to water hirers and tableware.
 
   

   CANE AND BAMBOO

 
In India, cane and bamboo have since ancient times been an expression of tribal art, providing them livelihood. Today the simple forms adorn the homes of the rich in various forms including elaborate cane furniture.Utilitarian and decorative items are made from cane in different styles and motifs, of which baskets and mats are the most popular. Tripura and Bengal are famous for elegant screens and bamboo mats, made from split bamboo, finely done. Assam, a state with abundant raw materials has a large variety of beautiful products like baskets, mugs for rice beer, hukkas, musical instruments and floor mats. Neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh excels in cane and bamboo work too, producing items such as cane belts. From Tamil Nadu, come the famed kora grass mats. The most delicate mats are made in Kerala, where black and white square bamboo boxes are also made in the same tradition, making excellent gifts.Cane is the natural endowment of the forest resources in Manipur. Due to Jhum (Shifting) cultivation rampantly practiced in the hill areas, cane resources have been dwindling. Bamboo, another forest resource is abundantly grown in Churachandpur, Jiribam, Tamenglong and Imphal districts of Manipur, the largest producer of bamboo products after Tripura in the entire north-east. Some of the bamboo products are sofa sets, murhas, mats, baskets, trays, chairs, tables, flower vases, ashtrays and other decorative and utility articles.
 
   

  JINGLE JANGLE

 
Bangles, have over the centuries acquired a cultural, social and religious significance. This adornment was a purely decorative accessory until the medieval period. Around this time, the bangle was transformed from a mere decoration to a symbol of marriage. In Bengal, the iron kada (bangle) commonly termed loha is worn by the married woman as a symbol of her marriage. The bride is also given a beautifully crafted white conch bangle and a red lac bangle.Ivorv bangles, like the glass ones, are an important item for brides of some communities. A bride from Punjab is traditionally given slender ivory choodas (bangles) in white and red. These bangles are given only in multiples of four. Over the years, the expensive ivory has been replaced by lac and plastic but the custom continues.When the Gujarati bride conceives, her sister-in-law gifts her a silver chain bracelet. In the seventh month she is also asked to wear a bracelet made of black thread and five kowdis (a kind of shell). This bracelet is untied only when the woman goes into labour pains to symbolically help in an easy delivery. A similar ceremony called Valaikapu, is practiced in south India.The profession of glass bangle making and selling is mostly dominated by Muslims. Ferozabad, a town in Uttar Pradesh, is renowned for its glass bangle manufacturing.In each region, bangles are made using the materials available locally, like wood in Kashmir and lac in Rajasthan.The Ahirs of Rajasthan and Rabaris of Gujarat cover their entire hand with bangles made of bone. The Lambadis of Andhra Pradesh wear the graded bone bangles upto their elbows. The Bastar tribe of Madhya Pradesh wears bangles made of coconut shell. The Gonds and Bhils wear bangles made out of brass or beads. The Kashmiris have the moat exquisitel painted papier-mache bangles.
 
   

   EXPERIENCE A CRAFTS FAIR

 
Launched jointly by Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC) and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), Dilli Haat project was conceived with the idea of providing exposure to needy artisans and craftsmen unexposed to commercial outlets. The complex, built on six acres of land is located in a commercial centre of South Delhi. The concept of Dilli Haat is taken from the traditional village fair with one basic difference. While in the village fair the venue keeps shifting, in Dilli Haat the craftsmen are mobile and ever changing, offering a panoramic view of the diversity of Indian handicrafts and artifacts at one venue. There are sixty-two stalls selling handicrafts of varied kinds from all over the country. The stalls are allotted two weeks each on a rotational basis giving an opportunity to the maximum number of craftsmen to exhibit and sell their wares. Dilli Haat also offers the visiting tourist the cuisines and performing arts from different parts of the country.
 
   

   CRAFTS COUNCIL OF INDIA

 
Crafts Council of India is a registered non-profit voluntary organisation formed for the preservation of crafts and for a better quality of life for the craftsperson. CCI is administered by a group of voluntary workers elected every two years. It is headquartered in Chennai and has a network of Crafts Councils in ten states. The work in the field at the grass roots level is done through these councils. The absence of a council in a particular state does not prevent work being undertaken there.Its main objectives are to ensure that crafts sell, quality is maintained, the craftsperson gets a fair price and that the craftsperson's future generations find it worthwhile to continue in the field. It ensures that adequate raw material is supplied to the craftsmen at a regular rate, helps upgrade tools and technology, works on community building programmes, introduces product design and helps market the crafts.