Information on Traditional Crafts, arts, handicrafts of Gujarat - India  
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Traditional Crafts

Handicrafts Throughout the seventeenth century, Gujarat was probably the most important centre for fine commercial embroidery in the world. In the present day, the world's richest source of folk embroidery is found in the belt comprising Kutch and Saurashtra up through northern Gujarat to western Rajasthan and the Thar Parkar district of Sind in Pakistan. Marriage costumes, wall hangings, quilts, cradle clothes and animal trappings are embroidered, appliqued, decorated with beadwork and embellished with mirrors, sequins, buttons and shells. Each caste passes on unchanged from generation to generation its own distinct designs, colours and range of stitches which, together with the cut of their garments and their own particular tie-and-dye and block-printed designs, form the major visual part of a caste's cultural identity.

The traditional Gujarati's have safeguarded their rich cultural heritage for centuries, which is very well exhibited by the art and craft of the region. The major handicraft works are Calico prints by Chhipas and Bhavsars, Patola weaving by Salvis, Brocade and Jari weaving by Khatris, Copper-smithly by Kansaras, Pottery by Kumbharas, Carpentry by Suthars, Black-smithly by Luthars, Gold-smithly by Sonis and leather work by Mochis.

The Harijan community at Ludia, 75kms from Bhuj, is skilled in wooden crafts while women create beautiful embroidery. The women at Dhordo work out still better embroidery called Mutva. The geometric and angular patterns reflect the Sauf embroidery by the Sodhas, which is believed to be the earliest extension of Iranian influences. The ladies from Lohana community busy themselves in silk thread work in deep hues.

Rabari WomanHowever, the most popular work force is that of the Rabaris, dressed in black skirts with creative edges embroidered and so are their profusely decorated veils with tie and dye patterns.

A Rabari bridegroom's embroidered long coat is worth a look for the dazzle of glasswork that has been so finely fixed together. In fact, their patterns, designs or colours of their dress and embroidery identify the Kutch caste and communities. Although these women are married off at a young age, they stay with their parents until the embroidery is finished. This could take years. Each woman embroiders the same traditional design with only slight variations.

The Jat community creates the intricate patterns of embroidery. Hodka village is famous for its leatherwork while the artisans at Zohra produce the fine bells with copper plantings. At Nirona one finds a unique craft called Roghan - art akin to the Afridi wax cloth that is created by the lone craftsman in the village. While exploring the Banni area consider halting at Bindiara for dairy products. Kutch wool has long been famous for its quality and the best place to buy some of these woolen shawls is at the cooperative shops where they are produced.


  • Patola:
    The famous Patola weaving of Patan is known for its colorful geometrical patterns, which are strikingly beautiful. The unique tie and weave method of Patola results in identical patterns on the both the sides of the fabric.

  • Bandhej:
    The tie and dye fabric of Jamnagar, Mandvi and Bhuj are famous for their intricate designs and patterns which are used in wedding outfits called as gharchola odhni and sarees. The other well-known prints are ajrakhs prints of Kutch region and the sodagiri prints of Paithapur. The vahgari community priests make Matani - Pachedi prints in honor of goddess Durga.

  • JariJari:
    Surat is one of the biggest and the most important Jari manufacturing centre of India. It is one of the oldest industries, which dates back to the Mughal period. The principal types of products are made of real gold and silver threads or imitation gold and silver threads. The major embroidery patterns are chalak, salaiya, kangri, tikki, ring and katori.

  • Mashru:
    It is a fabric woven with a combination of silk and cotton. Mashru is well known for its bold patterns and colours.

  • Toran:
    It is heavily decorated and embroidered decoration, which is hung over the entrance and is considered a symbol of warm welcome.

Jewellery making is the art of highest antiquity, the famous among these are filgree work, open wirework, carving etc. Enamelling is another noteworthy artistic craft. Kutch region is renowned for its necklaces, earrings etc.

Lacquer Work
ooden Lacquer WorkSaurashtra and Sankhed in the Vadodara district are also known for their lacquer work. Toys, stands, parts of bedstead, cradles, cradles, low chairs are some of the important items of lacquer work. Ivory is mostly used in inlay work and preparation of artistic bangles. Mahuva in Bhavnagar district and Idar in Sabarkantha district are known for the manufacturing of wooden lacquer toys.

Beads stones are prepared from Agate, a semi-precious stone, mostly in Cambay region for earrings, necklace and other ornamental articles. Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh and other places are also known for beadwork.

Wood Carving
Exquisite woodcarvings can be observed in the temples, havelis and many houses in various parts of Gujarat. The major centres of woodcarvings are Visnagar, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Mahuva, and Bilimora. Sandalwood boxes from Surat are very popular.

Temple Curtain
Temple curtain work is a speciality of some Vaghari Harijan families of Ahmedabad. It is prepared in the old madder process and depicts the Goddess Durga riding tiger as well as other illustrations from Puranic legends.


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