Papier Mache Work, Kashmir
Art and Crafts of Jammu and Kashmir - Magic without Illusions
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is famous the world over for its unique and splendid work of art and crafts. Travel through even the remotest parts of the state will give an insight into the world of art and craft in Jammu and Kashmir. Just about everything that is seen in Jammu and Kashmir has some kind of art work done on it. The most prominent is the embroidery work on the shawls and the cloths of Kashmiri people are very mesmerizing to be not noticed. You will also see the work of magic in wood works, steel wares, Papier-mache.
Shawls are the most famous offering of textile works from Jammu and Kashmir. The final product is definitely impressive, but the method by which they are produced is equally interesting. Even in the era of power looms, people of the state prefer making their textiles the traditional way. The shawls are made of a special wool, called the Pashmina that is extracted from the Kel goat. The shawls are then formed in two ways. In one way the weaving is done on the loom itself and in other, the embroidery is done by hand after looming. The embroidery that is done in J&K is called Kasida. In embroidery, use of exquisite colored threads is done to make designs of Chinar leaves, mythological figures or landscape designs. J&K also have become famous for its silk quality and quantity. In fact silk products are exported from J&K in huge amount. Main clothes that are made of silk are sarees, ladies suits and head coverings.
Papier Mache is another form of handicraft that has brought J&K wide acclaim from all regions of the world. To make Papier Mache objects, the process is very long and tedious. First the paper is soaked in water till the time it completely dismantles. The paper is then mashed and is mixed with an adhesive solution. The pulp is then molded into desired shape and is dried. The outlay of the object is now ready. Now is the time for artisans to color it and draw intricate and brilliant designs on it. The product is now ready to hit the market. The first look on these splendorous object itself will compel you to make them your own. There are cheaper versions of Papier Mache as well that are made up of cardboard. Pen boxes, table lamps, show pieces and other decorative items are few that are made from Papier Mache.
Wood Carving industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years in J&K. In fact, wood carving industry of J&K is the most famous in entire country. The Walnut wood is considered the best wood for carvings. Not only because it is readily available, but even after excessive carvings, the wood retains its strength. The main attraction of woodcarvings is the woodwork on the ceiling of the rooms. The technique for this work is immensely complicated and the end product is equally mesmerizing. This kind of woodcarving is called Khatam Band. Woodcarving can also be seen on chairs, tables, jewelry boxes and on any thing and every thing that is made of woods.
Art and craft is something that you will see, touches every aspect of life in J&K. Be it the clothes they wear or the homes they live in, everything in some way or the other has crafts involved in it. Most of these things are brilliant enough to be taken home as souvenirs of your travel to J&K. Lal Chowk and Badshah Chowk in Srinagar and Vir Marg and Hari Market is Jammu are the best places where you can indulge in shopping.
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