India, as I have shared earlier is a land of many surprises and mysteries.
Among the various treasures that it is home to, the arts and crafts of India hold many awe-inducing gems. These arts are many centuries old and have been passed on from generation to generation. Infact, that’s the only way some of these techniques have been kept alive.
On my recent visit to National Crafts Museum, located in Delhi I discovered some of these arts. There are various such art and art forms which have not been mentioned as part of this post, and that’s because they are either very well-known and information for those is commonly available; or because they were not displayed prominently at the Museum.
The intricate and delicate designs on paper are from making cuts using a scissors. The deft fingers of the artist I met maneuvered the paper expertly, making small, deliberate cuts. It takes him anywhere from a few hours to a few days, sometimes more than a month to make one complete painting. The one pictured below (centre) took 40 days, he told me.
One unique characteristic of this style of painting is that the colours are mixed and lifted from open sea shells. This is to protect the tip of the soft brush and also the colours from hardening.
It takes anywhere between 15 – 45 days to complete one such painting. It is made using a fine pen, and has intricate detailing which is flawless when observed closely.
This lady sits 8 hours at a stretch, to complete a significant portion of the painting in one sitting. Her husband assists her in marketing and selling these beautiful art-works and humbly and cheerfully displays the various paintings. Often, he displays a minimum of 10-15 paintings to the same customer, sometimes with no assurance of closing the sale.
These paintings are special and unique not just because of the sheer size and the difficulty in working on such a canvas, but also because of the intricate detailing and the intense work it involves. Often, these paintings are made by one or two people, over a number of days, to ensure consistency in design and color coordination.
Some of these paintings, especially Madhubani/Mithila style of painting have a rich history associated with them.
There are many other styles of paintings and art forms, some even more delicate and intricate than others. Apart from this, India is very rich in culture and dance forms. But, that’s probably best left for another time. 🙂
Do visit the National Crafts Museum, on your next trip to Delhi.
All photographs displayed in this post have been clicked by the Author and usage and reproduction of same without prior permission is prohibited.