The panoramic view of Indian crafts is a patchwork quilt of many shades and shades of meaning that reflects the interaction with social, economic, cultural and religious forces. The world of artisans is full of contrasts, all kinds of useful products and sacred items, items for ritual use and ephemeral festival crafts, which represent many levels of improvement – from the simplest to the most technically advanced. In addition, there are many perceptions of the term “artisan” ranging from manual worker to high artistic skill. The craft is then in a complex environment, a dense matrix of many threads and elements.
Stories unfold in the material with skillful mastery of tools and the use of intelligence and the work – a mirror of the society that produces it. No wonder we see traces and signs of culture frozen in stone or clay and metal and wood, and all this resonates with the roots of a particular cultural system that produces or uses the object of crafts. The belief systems that define this form could have originated from a religious source or from some body of ancient folk wisdom.
As someone rightly said, crafts are a true reflection of creativity, closeness to nature, business trip thought patterns, clarity of the right mix to turn a piece of wood or a piece of brass or something else to make a masterpiece.
Thus, the huge terracotta horses of Ayanar stand as vigilant village guards in Tamil Nadu. The temple, mosque, church and tribal gods have contributed to the formation of cult artifacts and vows that are part of the rites of passage in many communities of India. Birth and death, marriage and youth are all joys or sorrows for society, and they create a context for the release of creative energy and the demand for the highest degree of mastery that a craftsman can bring.
There are many expressions: some refined with decorative motifs and surface ornamentation, in others – a primordial sense of peace with a material and sublime proportion that evokes soft feelings, even if the object is made of metal, as in the massive cast glass of a ship from Kerala. The simplicity of Jain surface wood, utensils, and intricate and decorated meenokari, enameled metal products from the Islamic north stand out in stark contrast, each reflecting the ethos of the community and the purpose it serves. In the hills of Nagaland, baskets, hats and other accessories of the carrier tell about his worldview and identity.
India has been at the crossroads of civilization for over 5,000 years. Various waves of interactions from the Northwest and subtle trade interactions from the South and East have brought new ideas and practices, skills and applications. Internal migration and trade operations have borrowed skills from one place and planted them in new and foreign conditions. For example, the textile texture of bandhani in Gujarat finds new expression in the sungads of distant Madurai. The arrival of the Mughals brought exquisite Iranian art in weaving from metal, silk and carpets. The arrival of the British and Portuguese in South India introduced the carved wooden traditions of the West. In addition, the hot humid climate has caused a clever design of the shaded verandas of Pondicherry, coastal Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Indian crafts are a treasure trove of classical motifs and patterns that have evolved over the centuries, many of which have been passed down from commercial cultures during epochs of interaction. Once upon a time, motifs and patterns absorbed by culture spread in different environments: from stone to wood, from metal to fabric; from weaving to printing and from painting to inlay; each technique brings to the sample its own unique signature, amalgam material and restriction tools. In floral motifs and vines, belts can be found with as many expressions as materials and contexts, like kerry or aam, stylized mango.
The human form has also been depicted in large numbers. The rough and finished broken forms of the Naga warrior contrast sharply with the elegant bronze statuettes of Chola, while the wrought iron tribesman from Chhattisgarh differs from the expressive professional toys from Kandapalli in Andhra Pradesh.
Several crafts are a form of clean service, and the artisan plays the role of behaving critical functions in shape and shape repair. Urine or shoemaker and potter, tile maker and carpenter fall into the category of those who work to serve society with their skills and knowledge. In an era of mass consumption, it may be a good idea to return some of the value of this service to ensure that our products are recycled and recovered rather than used and discarded long before their active life expires. Craft and skill use can bring new values for a sustainable future and a new attitude towards the proper use and abuse of materials in the years to come.
Traditional and modern conditions exist to showcase craft heritage across India. The bazaar is closest to the manufacturer, while new forms of exhibitions and fairs promoted by the government and NGOs represent new formats of modern action. Craft heritage continues to evolve in modern times, and items also find new and modern expression, while old and traditional are still valued for the sophistication they represent. That crafts understand and respond to the variety demanded by their customers can be seen in the abundance of jewelry, clothing, footwear and handmade accessories used in our everyday costume. Kolhapuri, leather shoes, is one such product. The paintings of Worley and Madhubani are two notable examples of everyday art that is part of the living culture of the earth.
In the changing context of a global market economy and ideology, traditional crafts offer sustainable practices that need to be reconsidered and implemented. The development of crafts requires a paradigm shift from the advancement of the corrector, the traditional master, to the quality of craftsmanship, the correction, for he who admires this quality will become a master for eternity.