Rajasthan is well known all over the world for its hand-printed textiles, furniture, leatherwork, jewellery, painting, pottery and metal craft. The use of lively colors and flamboyant, fantasy designs is distinctive in all forms of arts and crafts of Rajasthan.It will be unfair to say that Rajasthani artists only make decorative items. Every household item in Rajasthan proves the statement false as we go through their embellished utensils, colorful attires, unique jewellery designs and embroidered shoes that infuse a new life and a cheerful look to the otherwise monotone of the desert sands.
Floor coverings like carpets, hand-woven durries and
namdas or soft woollen druggets of Rajasthan are exported all over the
world. Available in all sizes, the dhurrie is woven in Jaipur and also
in the rural areas of the state. Bikaner and Jaisalmer are known for
woolen dhurries made of camel hair. Bikaner is also famous for its
so-called jail carpets, which are so called for they were once made by
the prisoners in the medieval times. Much like Persian carpets,
Rajasthani hand-knotted carpets have geometric motifs and formal designs
with a border and central motif. The motifs have indeed been localized
and include peacocks and other local icons. Jaipur and Bikaner are
believed to be the pioneer centres in carpet weaving.
Antiques: Not all of the items in the
handicrafts shop that you find in Rajasthan can exactly pass off as
antiques of course but still their distinctive color and designs make
them popular among the tourists who buy them as souvenirs and as
decorative items for their homes. The large iron oil jars painted in the
pichwai style, depicting the love scenes, are just an example.
Similarly, variety of kitchen utensils, votive objects and even camel
saddles attract attention of the visitors.
Fabrics: Printed, dyed or embroidered
fabrics of Rajasthan are known for their unique hues and tones of color.
Block printing, batik, tie and dye has become a full-fledged artwork
here. Each region has its own distinct motifs, choice of colors, and the
way in which these colors are used. Bagru is known for earth colors and
geometric patterns while Sanganeri clothes have bright colors and floral
patterns. Barmer and Jaisalmer are famous for their batik or reverse
printing work. Sikar and Jodhpur are famous for intricate tie-and-dye or
bandhani designs including chunari (dotted), lahariya (diagonal striped
waves) and mothra (large dots) prints. Bikaner, Sikar and Jhunjhunu are
well known for the mirror work, embroidery and appliqué work that
are used to embellish these fabrics to produce elaborate designs of
Furniture and wood carving: Rajasthan is an
ideal place to look for old-worldly doors and windows, wooden jharokhas,
tables with cast iron jaalis, side-boards, chairs, benches, jhoolas or
swings and dressers, sometimes fretted with brass and copper sheets for
decoration. They can be lightly carved or embellished with tiles. Jaipur
and Ramgarh in Shekhawati are popular centers for furniture but Jodhpur
gets the first place. The notable places are Shekhawati and Bikaner for
traditional woodwork, Jodhpur and Kishangarh for painted wooden
furniture, Shekhawati, Bikaner and Ramgarh for delicately carved wooden
doors, Barmer for woodcarvings such as images of gods and goddesses,
elephants, parrots, human and animal figures, Tilonia for
leather-embroidered chairs of Tilonia and Shekhawati for carved-back,
string-bottom chairs. The most remarkable and finest type of artwork
belongs to Bikaner. Known as Gesso work, it is made using the inner hide
of the camel, which is scraped till it is paper-thin and translucent and
is then molded into various forms of lampshades, hip flasks, perfume
phials or vases.
Pottery: The different regions of Rajasthan
have distinctive style of pottery. Jaipur is famous for its blue glazed
pottery that doesn't use simple clay but ground quartz stone, fuller's
earth and sodium sulphate.Terra-cotta pottery is also quite popular in
Rajasthan. Molela, a village near Udaipur is specialized in making clay
images of deities for ceremonial occasions. Alwar is known for its
paper-thin pottery while Bikaner's painted pottery is tinted with lac
colors. The white and red clay articles of Pokaran are marked with
distinct geometric designs.
ware: In Rajasthan, jootis (the embroidered footwear the people
wear), saddles, bags and pouches are not the only objects made out of
animal skins. The other uses to which they are commonly put are making
backs of chairs embroidered with woolen motifs. The leather is beaten,
tanned and dyed and patterns are made on it by punching and gouging it.
Later it is studded and sequined for effect, and embroidered and
stitched to create the special jootis (slip-on shoes) that have become a
style-statement. Jaipur and Jodhpur are famous for these 'jootis'.
Metal Crafts: Started off with embellishing
the royal armor, the metal crafts of Rajasthan now adorn tabletops, wall
plates, flasks, silver animal figures, caparisoned elephants with human
figures over a howdah (a musical instrument). Jaipur, Alwar and Jodhpur
are famous for their metal wares such as brassware and enameled,
engraved and filigree cutwork on silver.
Paintings: Miniature paintings, portraits,
courtly paintings, murals, paintings on cloth and furniture, henna body
art, domestic paintings and mandana (the art of decorating houses) are
just of the various form of vibrantly colored and intricate Rajasthani
paintings.Mostly the paintings depict scenes from Ramayana, Krishna Lila
and the Gita Govindam and use rich colors that were made using minerals,
vegetables, precious stones, conch shells and metals like gold and
silver. Jaipur, Jodhpur, Nathdwara and Kishangarh are important centers
of such paintings. Other remarkable styles are phads or scrolls with the
tales of the folk-hero Pabuji and the pichwais of Nathdwara near
Udaipur, that depict scenes from the with life of Lord Krishna and are
often decorated with precious stones.
Puppets: Painted wooden heads, hands made
simply by stuffing rags or cotton into the sleeve of the dress, with
painted expressions, arched eyebrows, mustache for men and nose ring for
women and large expressive eyes on their face, puppets are draped with
dresses made from sequined old fabrics. They are extremely popular as
inexpensive mementos among the tourists.
Stone Carving: The forts and palaces and
beautiful havelis of Rajasthan are all superb examples of the exquisite
mason work of the state. Dholpur near Bharatpur and Barmer are popular
for panels of frescoes for buildings, large statuaries, planters, and
intricately carved elephants and horses as garden sculptures. White
marble statues of deities are considered to be a specialty of Jaipur..