In ARTS & CRAFT Rajasthan is among the richest states in the country.
May be it was a result of a war like life style of people of rajasthan which
sharpened the creative senses, artistic skills and inspired them to create the best and richest of treasures. Rajasthan has preserved rich craft heritage. The state is a treasure -trove of the best Indian Handicrafts which includes fabulous fabrics in lovely prints, precious and semi-precious stones, Kundan Meenakari Jwellery, embroidered leather work, other hand crafted items of wood, ivory, lac, glass, brass, silver and gold.
Each period of history saw it's own contribution to the thriving art scene. History of Rajasthan reveals that the Kings and nobles were patrons of Art and Craft and they encouraged the craftsmen in activities ranging from wood and marble carving to weaving, pottery and painting. People of this region had a strong desire to decorate their surroundings. The great palaces were decorated with as much attention as the walls of mud.
When Rajputs came to dominate the region they were constantly involved into fights. With the new ruler coming,there used to be a change in the art and culture of that area. This led to a change in the paintings and led to a great variety in the end. The Rajputs have been the patrons of the art. Their contact with the Mughals led to a strong influence of art on their lives.
The Rajput rulers encouraged the artisans by setting up schools for the propagation of their crafts. Each Rajput principally had his own unique craft and to this day, every little town and village has it's share of lanes where the craftsmen can be found practicing a craft handed down by the ancestors.
Some of the popular crafts :
The hand knoted woollen carpets of Tonk,
Bikaner and Jaipur, are generally based on Persian styles.The traditional
cotton durries of Jaipur, Jodhpur are, mostly in pastel shades with
geometrical motifs design.These can brighten any dullest floor.
Woolen Namda of Tonk (non woven) are equally popular.
Rajasthan is rich in jwellery, each area having it's own unique style.
Some of the traditional design are rakhri, bala, bajuband, gajra, gokhru, jod, etc. tribal women wear heavy, simply crafted silver jwellery . Men also wear ornaments in the form of chockers and earrings.
During Mughal Empire, Rajasthan became a major centre for production of fine kind of jewellery. It was a true blend of the Mughal with the Rajasthani
craftsmanship. The Mughals brought sophisticated design and new technical
know-how of the Persians origion with them.
The Meenakari is known as, the setting of
precious stones into gold and the enamelling of gold.
This intricate art was brought in Jaipur by Raja Mansingh of Amer by inviting some skilled workers from Lahore. The art grown over the years. Jaipur Meenakari is famous for it's delicacy and colourfullness.
Alwar, Pratapgarh and Nathdwara are other centers, which produce fine quality enamel work.
A speciality of Rajasthan, is work of Kundan, the jewellery in
which kundan is applied, mostly made from a core of lac, a
The pieces which make up the finished object are first shaped by specialised craftsmen (and soldered together if the shape is
Holes are cut for the stones, any engraving or chasing is
carried out, and the pieces are enamelled. When the stones are to be set,
lac is inserted in the back, and is then visible in the front through the
Highly refined gold, the kundan, is then used to cover
the lac and the stone is pushed into the kundan.
More Kundan is applied around the edges to strengthen the
setting and give it a neat appearance. This was the only form of setting
for stones in gold until claw settings were introduced under the influence
of western jewellery in the nineteenth century.
More than one craftsman was often involved in the making
of a single piece of jewellery. The chiterias made the design, the
ghaarias the engraving, the meenakar was the enameller and the sunar was
the goldsmith. These craftsmen received patronage from the nobles and the
kings, and therefore, they Do not have to compromise their art for the
sake of popular taste. They could take as long as they liked over a piece
The Masculine Jewellery
Turban jewellery :Turbans are heavily encrusted with jewels and fastened with a
gem set kalangi or aigrette.
The ornament worn in front of the turban is called a
sarpech. It was often extended into a golden bank set with emeralds,
rubbies, diamonds. Pearls were greatly loved by the Maharajas and they
often wore double or triple strings of pearls with pendants of precious
stones round their necks.
Men also wore earrings, jewelled sashes around their waists and several
rings on every finger.
It was a status symbol and a
portable display of wealth, and consequently, power.
The common man of Rajasthan has traditionally worn
jewellery too, though what he wears is made from more modest metals like
silver, and gems are substituted by coloured glass.
Earrings, armlets and anklets of silver are still
commonly seen adorning the rural Rajasthani male.
Males also wear necklaces, earrings and lucky charms
which are considered to ward off evil.
The Feminine Jewellery
Feminine jewellery is more complex than masculine
jewellery. Ladies generally wear a number of jewellery right from head to Foot.These are :
- Hair pins
- Nose ring (nuth)
- Karan fhool
- necklace and Champakali around the neck
- Bangles and rings
- Hathphool around arms and fingers
- Kardhani around west
- Rings on the toes
- Payal (jhanjhar) for foot
and so on,
any number to be worn at the same time.
So it is not surprising that the ladies of
Rajasthan were bedecked from head to toe in jewellery, so much so that it
sometimes is an mystery as to how they could carry the weight of all the
Ivory is often used to make jewellery, especially
bangles, which are considered an essential part of bridal jewellery. The
bangles are often overlaid with gold. They are often dyed in various
colors, though the most popular one is
red. Ivory is also inlaid and shaped into intricate items of great beauty. Miniature paintings were also executed on the ivory.
Lac and Glass : Lac is mainly used bangles and decorative items.
Lac bangles are made in bright colours. These bangles and decorative items are inlaid with glass and coloured stone.
- The world fame jootis are made from leather having artistically emroidered uppers. These are incredibly comfortable and sturdy. Jaipur, Jodhpur, Barmer and Jaisalmer are traditionally
known for these footwear.
Leather is also an essential raw material for
making musical instruments such as the tabla, dhol, kamaycha. These instuments are used by Rajasthani folk musicians.
known for its painted lampshades, shields and vases made from camel hide .
hand-bags, purses, belts, hats, stools and collapsible chairs with graphic emroideries made from leather at
Tilonia village near Ajmer is also example of good craftmanship.
From palaces to huts, paintings can be found
everywhere in many colours and forms. Rajasthani paintings can broadly be classified into Wall, Cloth
and Miniature Paintings.
Wall Painting :
Palaces, Havelies, even huts are commonly having
and ceilings covered with colourful paintings in Rajasthan. Some of the finest paintings can be seen in
havelis of the Shekhawati region and the ancient towns of Bundi and Kota. And some of the
most humorous on the walls of houses tucked away in the lanes of Jaisalmer.
They include the phad and the pichwai
(cloth hangings used behind the deity in Vaishnava temples such as the temple of
Shrinathji at Nathdwara). Done in bright colours with bold outlines, these paintings have
strong religious traditions.
Different schools of this fascinating art have flourished here since the 16th century,
each with its own distinctive style.
The Kishangarh school is best known for its Bani Thani
paintings. A totally different style with highly exaggerated features - long necks, large
almond-shaped eyes, long fingers and the use of subdued colours.The verdant greenery of
the Kota-Bundi region is reflected in the paintings of that region.
The rulers of Amer-Jaipur were the closest to the
Mughals and a strong Mughal influence crept into their paintings.
Rajasthan's terracotta tradition is dating back to the Indus
Valley Civilization. Since then it continues in all parts of the state. A villege
Molela near Udaipur is fame for its terracotta aticles.
Clay is extensively used for making pots, dolls
and other objects. These are painted with various type of images like folk divinities and are sold in village fairs
during festive times such as Gangaur, Teej and Diwali.
Jaipur is the home of glazed blue-pottery. Vases, flower pots, bowls, water pots and other objects are produced in
traditional geometrical and floral motifs, as well as hand-painted details of Rajasthani
Puppetry is an ancient and popular form of folk
entertainment. No village fair, no religious festival and no social gathering in Rajasthan
can be complete without the kathputlis (puppets).
With their sparkling eyes and brightly coloured
dresses, the kathputlis , gives unforgetable experince.
Carved wooden chests and boxes with brass inlay and laquer work, together with
sandalwood statues and objects, are the some of the most popular hand carafed items. There is also a wide range of
grand furniture, reminiscent of the royal era.
Tilonia (near Ajmer) furniture also stands out for
its fine embroidery work done on leather. As also carved furniture from
Rajasthan produces the country's finest marble,
sandstone, quartz and slate.
The extraordinary craftsmanship of Rajasthani
stone workers is visible in the numerous temples, palaces and havelies. For the connoisseur,
there are life-like and life-size statues, the intricately carved pillars and jalis
(latticed grilles). The finest examples of jali work can be seen in the various havelis
(mansions) of Jaisalmer.
Precisely carved statues, busts, pillars, furniture items and other objects in white marble stone in Makrana are unforgottenable.
Rajasthani textiles come in a fascinating range of
dyed and block-printed fabric which are further embroideried. Each region has
its own special colour scheme, design and technique.
Hand-block printed textiles of the townships of Sanganer
and Bagru near Jaipur have won the hearts of millions at home and abroad.
Jaipur's quilts are a hot favourite with most tourists.
Tie-and-dye textiles, called bandhej or bandhani
are an important Rajasthani craft. Different methods are used to tie the fabric into small
points and produce various patterns like lehariya, mothda, ekdali and shikari.
The best bandhej comes from Sikar and Jodhpur, while Jaipur, Barmer, Pali, Udaipur and
Nathdwara are the other centres.
Zari and gota are lavishly used
in bridal and formal costumes. One can pick up saris or even cushion covers with this
elaborate mettalic thread embroidery.