Handicrafts of Gujarat

Gujarat has a very rich heritage of handicrafts. The handicrafts of Gujarat are very unique. These handicrafts have been given a fillip by the government and some private individuals. Craftsmen and women who left their villages to work as stone crushers for the living have been brought back to practise their traditional arts. Their products can be seen and purchased in emporiums in Gujarat, Delhi and Mumbai. The excavations at the Harappan sites in Gujarat at Lothal, Rangpur, Rozdi etc. have brought to light some of the very ancient handicraft articles. Gujarat also has a rich tradition of embroidery, leather work, bandhani and hand-block printing. Gujarat is also known for the famous and unique Kutch embroidery.

Patola – The Patola of Patan is a unique fabric of Gujarat. This special variety of women’s wear is strikingly attractive with its colourful geometrical patterns. This lovely silken fabric, which resembles a printed saree is not an apparel printed by blocks. Its tie and weave method result in identical patterns on both sides of the fabric, involving complicated designs, and is entirely based on the geometry of the design.

Zari Work – The Zari or gold thread embroidery work of Surat is one of the oldest handicrafts whose origin can be traced back to the Mughal period. Surat is one of the biggest and important Zari manufacturing centres in India.

Dyeing – Dyeing is a hereditary art. In the past cloth was dyed in colours extracted from trees and flowers. The Sarkhei suburb of Ahmedabad was one of the indigo manufacturing and exporting centres. The Bandhani, tie and dye variety of saree is a very popular women’s wear.

Cloth printing – Cloth printing is a complicated and specialised job. It is done with engraved wooden blocks and screens. Certain craftsman are doing the work of printing different varieties which are locally called Chundadi, Patola, Plain Gala, Lehria, Bandhani, Pomcha, Nagaria. Household utility and decorative materials such as table cloths, bed covers, curtains, tapestries, hand bags and carpets are also prepared by this type of printing process.

Wood carving – Wood carving is an ancient art of the state which has attained very high standard of technical skill. Some of the best examples of wood-carvings are found in temples and houses in many parts of Gujarat. The wood carvers produce life-like figures of animals, artistic objects of every-day use such as tea pots, table lamps, stools and toys for children.

Embroidery – Embroidery has been a craft for women. Banni, a small village in the Rann of Kutch is known for its artistic embroidery work. Small mirrors are interspersed to lend glitter and charm. The finest type of such embroidery work with small mirrors is called Abhla-Bharat.

Jewellery – The art of making jewellery and precious stone-cutting and processing is a traditional handicraft of Gujarat. Gold smithy includes filigree-work, open- wire-work, carving etc. The folk jewellery of excellent designs, characteristic of each village and each community is a typical art of Gujarat.

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