Arts and Crafts of Madhya Pradesh

Crafting bamboo articles for daily as well as decorative use is a popular pastime of the Gond, Baiga, Korku and Basor or Basod communities.Bamboo thickets are a common sight in the state and the tribals are experts at putting it to use. You can buy anything from agricultural implements, fishing traps, hunting tools to baskets at local weekly markets. Apart from Chhattisgarh and Bastar, the main bamboo producing centres are Shahdol, Balaghat, Mandla and Seoni.

Carpet Weaving – Carpet-weaving which came to India from Persia, was a craft very dear to the Mughals. Thanks to their encouragement and patronage, Gwalior developed into a carpet-weaving centre. The weavers here are undisputed masters of not only weaving but dyeing too. Alas, as elsewhere in India, colouring is now done more with synthetic colours instead of eco-friendly natural dyes. Woollen carpets in vibrant colours with both floral and geometric designs are a good buy.

Dhurries- The floor coverings of Madhya Pradesh consist mainly of dhurries (flat-woven carpets) in a rich variety of designs. A dhurrie, essentially a thick cotton woven fabric, is made near Sironj. The technique of making these dhurries is quite primitive, but the colours and patterns more than make up for what they lack in finish.

Ornaments & Jewellery – All forms of adornment are dear to the hearts of tribals. The adivasis of MP are no exception. The intricate and artistic twisting of thread was itself considered an embellishment to round or octahedronal metal beads used in tribal communities. They often weave cotton thread into a broad band as a textured or patterned base, then loop in buttons, beads or metallic droplets intermittently.

The people of this state also delight in silver ornaments. However, articles of particular value are only displayed on weddings and, to a lesser extent, when visiting fairs and festivals.

Paintings – The art of painting in India goes back to prehistoric times. Evidence of this is rampant in the astounding cave paintings found in Madhya Pradesh.Drawings on walls of caves and rock shelters served a twofold purpose: decorating homes and appeasing deities. While the adivasis (tribals) of yore traced simple, very basic forms to ward off evil spirits and disease, more sophisticated art survives in the Buddhist rock-carved monasteries of the middle of the first millennium AD, such as Ajanta in Maharashtra and Bagh in MP.

Wood Carving – The art of woodcarving has flourished long in Madhya Pradesh, and the beautifully embellished wooden ceilings, doors and lintels with finely carved designs are silent testimonials to its glory. The wood carvers of Madhya Pradesh, with great sensitivity and skill transform different varieties of wood such as shisham, teak, dhudi, sal and kikar (a prickly tree that keeps its leaves all through the year and has yellow flowers and also called babul or subabul) into works of art.

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