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Kalamkari hand-painting on fabric is a technique used to embellish temple cloth and hangings. Painted hangings are used for religious instruction, in temples, and for draping behind the idol in temple cars during processions.

The process followed here is even more painstaking than the kalamkari done at Masulipatnam as the entire design is drawn bv hand using a kalam or pen made from wood (tamarind twigs charred to charcoal sticks) and fibre. All the processes are nearly the same as at Masulipatnam except for the absence of blocks. This craft grew mainly around places of pilgrimage and one of the leading centre is Sri Kalahasti in Andhra Pradesh.
The temple hangings and tapestries from Kalahasti are famous worldwide. Madder and indigo processes are used here and alum is the mordant used to fix the colours. Vegetable dyes in deep rich shades red and blue are used, while green is obtained as a combination of yellow and blue. The washing of the cloth to remove starch and the washing between dyeing and bleaching is done from flowing water in a stream or river. The lines of the design are drawn with a mixture of iron-filings and molasses. The colour schemes used are traditional ones, with women figures in yellow, gods in blue, and demons in red and green. The background colours are usually red with motifs of lotus and other flowers. The aesthetic quality of fine kalamkaris derives from the superb conceptual and technical skill involved in the work.

Religious themes dominate, with temples, epics, and mythological figures being depicted frequently. The stories illustrated on these panels are from Puranic legends and from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Paintings are usually done in cloth panels which narrate entire stories, with the smaller ones depicting important religious events like Sita's marriage. As all the panels are done by hand, and each one is unique";" no two panels will look the same. A panel may include a story-theme written in verse under it to explain it.
Kalamkari Hand Painting

Aranmula is a small village near Chengannur in Kerala and is renowned for making a special type of metallic mirrors with bell metal, an alloy of copper and tin. It is believed that a divine visitation inspired a widow of this village to discover a mysterious blend of bronze which could be waxed bright into crystal clear mirror. These mirrors are known as Aranmula Kannadi. Though most commercially available mirrors have a coating of silver or other metal on the rear, this is the only mirror of its type, which reflects from the front. Owning such a mirror which is prohibitively costly, is believed to be A Lifetime Possession? which brings good luck and brings prosperity and keeps evil eyes away.
Aranmula Metal Mirror
A technique similar to lost wax method is used to make moulds of these mirrors with the local mud from the field. Once the casting is done, the surface is polished with oil and some metallic powder. The polish may continue for several days to get the required surface. Kannans, the artisans of this unique type of bell-metal are only a handful of familes in the world, who retain till date, this art of getting such reflection from metal.

Now a languishing craft, this blue pottery is made only by a single family who can trace their lineage back to the Mughals. Blue pottery, characterised by an unusual turquoise aqua blue colour, had very limited centres for production with Delhi as one of the three main centres. The Mughals are said to be the forefathers of this artform after which the craft is supposed to have travelled from Delhi to Jaipur along with the Muslim karigars. They migrated in large numbers, attracted by Raja Man Singh, a great patron of the crafts. Legend has it that blue-pottery items were used by the Mughal kings to test their food as theycould tell by the change in glaze of the pottery that the food had, in all probability, been tampered with or poisoned.
Blue Pottery
The blue colour is obtained from cobalt oxide and is cast in a mould and glazed. A mixture of quartz, glass, borax, and katira gum sieved through a fine mesh is used to make the body of the object by blending the mixture with water to make a dough which is then cast in moulds. The moulded pieces are then dried and smoothened with sand paper. A thin solution of glass and flintstone mixed with water and wheat is applied on the semi-finished piece and then the desired areas are painted with different pigments. A second coat of glaze, made from a mixture of borax, red lead, and powdered glass is applied, along with wheat flour. The decorated and glazed wares are fired in a kiln at temperatures below 1,000 degrees celsius.

Embroidery from the Saurashtra and Kutch regions in Gujarat is not only famous but also versatile. There are plenty of stitches used to beautify the product. Abhala is the embroidery where small round pieces of mirrors are fixed on to the fabric using buttonhole stitching";" the embroidery is done in a herringbone stitch using silken thread. Rust, light green, indigo, blue, deep red, pink, and purple are the colours used. skirts, kurtis(ladies shirt) and richly embroidered blouses are the other famous items by the craftspersons.
Kathi is the oldest embroidery which is known for its romantic motifs. Geometrical motifs are fabricated with multicolored fabric pieces leading to patch work effect. Varieties of items are prepared. Heer is an embossed stitch having shades of off-white, yellow, madder red, black, indigo, ivory, and green. Small mirror pieces are used to add more beauty to the embroidery.

Ari embroidery with silk threads using a hook is a popular craft of Kutch. The motifs found commonly are, dancing peacocks, human figures in dancing poses. A Bandhani pattern complimented with beautiful and delicate bead work is an art to be praised. The various communities in Gujarat --- rabaris , , ahirs, , jats, bharwads bharwads and harijans have their own styles of embroidery. Cotton and quality silks are used by jats and mutuwas to decorate women's outfits. The embroidery of the Rabari community is usually done on a maroon background with the enclosed motifs.
Embroidery of Gujarat

Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh has highly skilled artists practicing the delicate craftsmanship of filigree. Spoons, buttons cigarette cases, boxes, ashtrays, buttons pill boxes, jewelry, paandans and perfume containers. Designs of Peacock, parrots and fish are depicted in the perfume containers. The artisans display mastery is twisting the delicate silver wire into delicate loops knitted in a zigzag pattern resulting in an intricate lace like appearance.
This is an ancient art of metal work practiced in the traditional way. Silver filigree has Cuttack as a centre. The Silver filigree craft is locally known as Tarkashi in Orissa. . The artifacts are made of alloy which contains over 90% of silver and to compete with the changing times new methods are being used..The artists have maintained the craft by keeping themselves updated with the market requirement . Platinum polish is also used and it leaves glare on the item.

The silver is extracted through a series of consecutive smaller holes to produce fine strings of silver threads. The string is the specialty in the filigree jewelry.. Traditional items include figures of animals, birds and flowers. Konark Chakra and temple are the favorite mementos while a still depicting the chariot of Arjuna driven by Lord Krishna is quite popular. Brooches, ladies bags, pendants, earrings and hairpins and other utility items like the trays, plates, cups, candle stands bowls, ash-trays, , incense containers, animals, birds, flowers, peacock and many more.
Silver Filigree Work


Clay & Terracotta

The finest patterns of terracotta panels can be found in Bengal towns of Murshidabad, Birbhaum, Jessore, Hooghly and Digha. The theme is generally folk and the patterns are fairly highlighted with traditional skill and explicit artwork.

The clay used is generally a blend of two to three clays found in river beds, pits and ditches. More often than not the fuel used is one of the local resources available in the form of twigs, dry leaves or firewood. The kilns where the clay pots are baked are operated at temperatures between 700 ? 800 degrees celcius.

The womenfolk in the khumbkar families are the potters who work on the wheels making the round necks and the upper halves of the pots. They also make solid clay toys and dolls which are cast in burnt clay moulds. Large figurines of gods and goddesses are also made in clay and generate a lot of income for these families.

Terracotta, which is found mainly in rural parts of West Bengal, has found inroads into mainstream lifestyle with many household using the suraii, a clay pitcher used to keep water cool. Most rural households use terracotta feeding bins for cattle, tea mugs, clay pots for cooking rice, plates, tumblers, yoghurt pots. Most of the items though are of the use and throw variety.


Lohri wishes

The various customs and traditions attached to the festival of Lohri signifies the harvesting of the Rabi crops. The people of Northern India, especially Punjab and Haryana celebrate Lohri, to mark the end of winter. Harvested fields and front yards are litup with flames of bonfires, around which people gather to meet friends and relatives and sing folk songs. For Punjabis,

In the morning, children go from door to door singing songs in praise of Dulha Bhatti, a Punjabi version of Robin Hood who robbed from the rich and helped the poor. These visitors are usually given money as they knock on their neighbor’s doors. In the evening, people gather around bonfires, throw sweets, puffed rice, and popcorn into the flames, sing popular folk songs and exchange greetings.

The Bonfire Customs & Tradition

In the evening, with the setting of the sun, huge bonfires are lit in the harvested fields and in the front yards of houses and people gather around the rising flames, circle around (parikrama) the bonfire and throw puffed rice, popcorn and other munchies into the fire, shouting "Aadar aye dilather jaye" (May honor come and poverty vanish!), and sing popular folk songs. This is a sort of prayer to Agni, the fire god, to bless the land with abundance and prosperity.

After the parikrama, people meet friends and relatives, exchange greetings and gifts, and distribute prasad (offerings made to god). The prasad comprises five main items: til, gajak, jaggery, peanuts, and popcorn. Winter savories are served around the bonfire with the traditional dinner of makki-ki-roti (multi-millet hand-rolled bread) and sarson-ka-saag (cooked mustard herbs).

On the Lohri day everyone gets into their best clothes and is festive. Gifts of sweets are exchanged. The courtyard and rooms of the house are swept and sprinkled with water. As the sun sets, all people dress up in their best and gather around the bonfire. Newly wed ones wear jewelery. The new-born are given little combs to hold. The a burning fagot is brought from the hearth and sets the Lohri bonfire alight. As the flames leap up, the girls throw sesame seed in them and bow. Someone sings:


“Let purity come, dirt depart
Dirt be uprooted and its roots Cast in the fire.”
People throw sticks of sugarcane into the fire and an aroma of burning sugar spreads in the atmosphere. Girls light fireworks and sparklers. The fire's glow lights faces with a golden hue. People sing and dance till the early hours of the morning, and little children sleep in their mother's laps.

When people throw sesame seeds in the fire they ask for sons. The saying is: As many as the elder brother's wife throws, so many sons the younger brother's wife will bear. That is why in homes where there is a new-born son or a newly wed man, Lohri is celebrated with even greater enthusiasm, and sweets made of molasses and sesame seed are sent to relatives and friends. Since the Punjabi word for sesame seed is til and for molasses rorhi the festival is also called Tilori.

Lohri is also an occasion when parents give presents to their newly married daughters. "For peasants, Lohri marks the beginning of a new financial year because on this day they settle the division of the products of the land between themselves and the tillers.
this is more than just a festival; it is also an example of their love for celebrations. Lohri celebrates fertility and the joy of life. People gather around bonfires, throw sweets, puffed rice and popcorn into the flames, sing popular and folksongs and exchange greetings.

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