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Carpets & Floor Coverings

The largest concentration of carpet weaving in the country is in Uttar Pradesh with 90 percent of the production and 75 percent of the weavers. The main centers are Mirzapur, Bhadohi, Khamaria and about 500 villages in this area. They have some special designs of their own like the Taj Mahal, in natural colour or any tint, Sirdar in plain body and subdued colours with hand embossed or hand carved borders in rose-beige, honey-beige, ivory and soft green. They also make use of the 18 th century designs with short clippings of the yarn around the contours of the pattern to give it a sculpturesque look. Mostly pastel shades are used but intermingled with bright colours.

The design is carefully prepared on a graph paper with extreme care. Twisted cotton thread is used for the finer weaves and sometimes jute twine for the rougher qualities. The weaver twists the thread into two-warp threads for weaving and ties the knot. The carpets of this region are mostly in medium quality and the knots are around 60 per sq. inch as the sculptured styled carpets do not call for a large number of knots. These carpets are popular export items today.

Agra in Uttar Pradesh is one of the old carpet centers of the Mughal days. It produces both the traditional as well as the new designs. The weaving is done under the "calling out" system in which the master weaver follows the design and keeps calling out to the weavers the colors to be used for each knot. Among the oriental design carpets made, the Indo-Ispahan and Indo- Kashan are alike except that the former has the long leaf and the latter the small leaf and flower.

In Shahjahapur, both cotton and woolen carpets are made. The designs are of the old Persian style. The overall base color is a clear soft scarlet and the field diapered with golden yellow diamond shapes scattered around, broken by a black line wandering through the field. The border is formed by geometrical yellow floral and dark lineated leaf design rising at right angles to a black center line. Among the traditional designs are kethariwala jal, jainamaz takhdar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Art and Crafts

Agra's Zardozi


Agra's Zardoji is very unique art of embroidery in three dimension's.  The artist first makes free hand sketches of this subjects.  Then he embroiders in cotton threads over and over till he gets the required thickness and movements. Finally the artists takes fibre from silk threads, twists then together in the shades required for and embroiders with them the particular piece.  In the process he creates original unparallel work of art.

Chikankari of Lucknow


The delicate art of embroidery traditionally practiced in the city of Lucknow and it's environs is known as ‘Chikankari'. The name ‘chikan' seems to have been derived from the Persian word, either ‘Chikan', ‘Chikin' or ‘Chikeen'. It means a kind of cloth wrought with needle–work. Although it originated as a court craft, today it is a practiced tradition and an important commercial activity.

Chikan work has a very light, gossamer – like quality. This makes it very suitable for the seemingly hot climate of the northern plain region. It can be assumed that Chikankari, using sheer fabrics evolved as a logical answer to the problem of keeping cool and also providing adornment and beauty to one's person or in the surroundings.

The light chikan saris are perfect for summer wear. Men prefer to wear their chikan kurtas during summer evenings.

There is a popular legend that a courtesan in t he Nawab of Avadh's harem was a master. He was so impressed by the work, that he started a workshop where this style of embroidery would be developed further. The Nawab were the setters of fashion. The other humbler nobles and Zamindars would imitate them in every way.

Chikankari thus received great impetus during the Nawabi period. The finely embroidered muslin came to be closely identified with the Nawabi culture and became an intrinsic part of it. The Chikankari tradition gradually filtered down the masses of common people and became a part of their daily life.

The source of most design motifs in Chikankari is Mughal. These motifs can also be seen in the ornamentation of Mughal buildings like the Taj Mahal and the monuments of Fatehpur Sikri.

There are various stitches used in Chikankari. They vary according to the kind of designs and materials used. The most frequently used stitch is the satin stitch. This is a very delicate and minute stitch.

Other stitches like the darning stitch, stem stitch, chain stitch etc. are also used. All these stitches are sometimes used individually but more often in combination of two or more together to fill the whole motif. There are minute variations on these basic stitches and much manipulation in terms of shape and size.

Metalware


Uttar Pradesh is the largest Brass and Copper making state in India with thousands of establishments. In domestic-ware each of the scores of lotas (small water-pots) is known by the name of its origin, like Etawah, Banaras, Sitapur, etc. The ritual articles are largely in copper like tamrapatra (pot for storing water); panchapatra for holding in all the articles needed for worship; simhasan a seat for the deity; kanchanthal, plate for offering flowers and sweets, and a host of such things.

Two methods are used in casting. Para, mould casting for making a single composite item of a simple kind and darza, sand-casting where various parts of an intricate object are separately prepared and then soldered. Moradabad in U.P. has become synonymous with art metalware. It is specially noted for it's colored enameling and intricate engravings in niello. The metalworkers of the city of Moradabad flourished during Mughal rule. They continue to dominate the Indian market for engraved as well as utilitarian brass. A thin coating of lac is given to the article and the pattern traced on it and with a steel pointed pencil and only then engraved. Engravings in nakashi type is done on tinned surface where the indentations are from a stet as per design while the simpler ones are from memory. Thereafter the grooves are filled with Lac of different hues. The decorations are done in golden color against a background made white by tin polishing. Although many of the processes are semi-mechanized, engraving continues to be done by hand. Workers in sheet brass are known as khatera and those who cast the metal are known as bharatias. Plates, cups, bowls, boxes and coffee pots are engraved with a range of floral and geometric patterns and these compositions are often inlaid with brightly colored Lac or vegetable resin. The decorations may include scenes reminiscent of the style of Mughal painted miniatures, but also portray incidents from the Hindu Scriptures.

Zari Work of Varanasi


Banaras besides being a holy place also has the distinction of being a world famous center of hand-made textiles. The ancient traditions of weaving is more preserved in Banaras than anywhere else. The main products are Zari and brocades.

Brocades are textiles woven with warp & weft threads of different colors and often of different materials . The brocades are woven in silk with profuse use of metal threads in ‘pallars' (endpieces) and the field of the sari.

The weavers are mainly Muslim and are known as ‘karigars' which means ‘artist'. The brocades are woven in workshops known as ‘karkhanas'.

The zari thread known as ‘kalabuttum', consists of finely drawn gold, silver or base metal threads wound round as silk thread. Silk traditionally came from Bengal, Central Asia and Italy but now it comes from either Malda, in Bengal or from Kashmir or Japan.


In Banaras the chief varieties of silk used are –

•  Jandhuri

•  Banaks

•  Mukta

•  Sandal

These textiles have been woven by teams of weavers and assistants using traditional naksha dran looms. Traditionally the design of the brocade was done on paper first. Then the naksha bandha rendered the design onto cotton threads on a naksha, or ceiling mounted thread device.

The nakshabands of Varanasi were so skilled that they tied the designs for the weavers of other brocading centers such as Surat in Gujarat and Chanderi in MP. Now designs used are inspired by folk art of Assam, Bengal, Gujarat, and adaptation of Mughal, Rajasthani and Pahari paintings.

Kimkhabs, one of the best known Varanasi brocades, have more Zari work visible than Silk. They were very popular in the Mughal court. They were woven with coarse but durable silk called Mukta. It is heavy enough to take brocading with gold and silver thread. These heavy Kimkhabs were designed for furnishings rather than clothes. Other Zari brocade types were Potthan, and batt-hana or batta. They are of silk showing through Amru brocades have no Zari and are woven entirely in Silk.

Tanchoi brocades have multiple warp and supplementary weft threads fabric. Abramamn (flowing water) has a distinct transparency and delicately woven supplementary thread patters printed. Tarbana, has a fine silk warp but a weft of Zari threads that give the brocade a metallic sheen.

The deep red ,golden zari saris are popular with nearly all Indian brides. The design motifs of these brocades are intricate floral and foliage patterns, kalga and bel, and in sari pallars and dupattas a string of upright leaves called jhalar.

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Hand Printing

Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh is a veritable treasure house of traditional designs ranging from the classical butis (dots) to the famous ' Tree of Life ', The butis are restful even though sparkling when tinted in solid colors. Mango, ‘paisley' as it is known in the West, is made in a vast variety of shapes, and used in bold, medium and even fine designs.

The composition is first printed in harmonizing colors and later elaborated with delicate details painted in with a brush. A variety of blossoms merge in this luxuriant tree. It is primarily a decorative piece unrelated to any symbol but has a flavour of growth, prosperity and immorality. The spirited heraldic lions that guard the tree speak of a Hindu tradition.

Lucknow's specialty is ‘paisley'. Other designs seem to be influenced by the local chikan embroidery patterns. Jehangirabad is distinguished for its bold lines and toned down colors, influenced by the jamdani and jamevar weaves.

Tanda (Faizabad) known for its jamdani weave is also the center of a very elaborate printing of graphic quality which gives the fabric an antique look. Two blocks with the same design are used, one perforated and stuffed with cotton to a saturation of color, while the other is plain. These are then printed and reprinted and juxtaposed in the process, developing a dark red color for printing the motifs. The background shade however varies. A very novel design is a batoli chintz, in which against a deep black indigo are placed red diamond-shaped dots of varying sizes that create a startling effect.

In Ferozabad, the entire community is involved in making glassware. Earlier only bangles were made, but now all sorts of sophisticated glassware, as well as tasteful tableware is produced. Varanasi also specializes in glass beads. Now with very modern methods and in a much wider range, many of which are exported. It also make a a very thin glass out of which little pieces called tikli are cut out. These are worn by women on the forehead as an ornament or for decorating of fabrics, costumes and other things. Saharanpur makes interesting toys full of colored liquid called panchkora. It also makes glass mouth pieces for hukkahs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

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