Sunday, 13 November 2011

wallnut wood

The walnut wood carving of Kashmir employs a process of hand carving done very carefully and delicately in various styles by means of varied tools, fabricated locally depicting forms and motifs that have evolved over a period of centuries.
The process is representative of local tradition of carving, evolved from stone and transmitted later on through the medium of wood representing various facets of carving; from flat to deep relief that employs a subtle three-dimensional effect.
The carving employs a host of motifs that depict the varied flora and fauna of the region in a highly stylized manner also reflective of other associated Kashmiri handicrafts.
The desired effect and craftsmanship is achieved by the master craftsman (wasta or naqash) through calculated measured strokes for chipping, carving and rounding of the surface. The entire process is highly representative of the art of stone sculpture (shilpi) though on a more miniaturized scale.
The Kashmiri walnut wood craftsman rejoices in carving intricate and varied designs based on lively natural forms. Thus elaborate and intricate carvings form the essentials of what is termed as good quality wood carving. This tendency or rather fascination for detail seems to have developed in the latter part of the 19th Century under European influences when the bold and effective woodcarving of yesteryears was replaced by a highly intricate process of undercutting in the 19th Century.
In today’s contemporary market, Kashmiri walnut woodcarving is recognizable because of colour and tone of the material (walnut) and its combination with local craftsmanship depicting certain established motifs in a highly intricate and miniaturized form in the traditional established styles. The Kashmir walnut woodcarving is practiced in the five main styles:
a) Undercut (Khokerdar): This type of carving is highly reflective of traditional stone carving involved in the making of sculptures. This carving usually comprises multi-layers that can exceed upto seven (satnarey). The overall effect tends towards three-dimensional depiction of various motifs. Edges tend to be rounded off. Straight, sharp edges are usually avoided. This type of carving is usually carried out in panels and is a favorite with many established craftsmen (wastas). The scenes mostly depicted are complex arrangements generally associated with jungle kaam.
b) Open or Lattice Work ( Jallidahr, Shabokdhar): This type of carving is a favorite with artisans working in screens and employs beautiful see through Jalli work. Chinar leave motifs are also employed especially in items of furniture like the back of chair. These works is also known as cut work or see through.
c) Deep Carving (Vaboraveth): This work is also known as raised work and the designs mostly employed in this form of carving comprises dragon or lotus motif.
d) Semi Carving or Engraved Carving (Padri): Usually this type of work comprises thin panels along the rim of the surface with perhaps a central motif.
e) Shallow or Plain Carving (Sadikaam) This type of carving is normally employed all over a flat surface.
The Kashmiri walnut woodcarving is largely devoid of geometrical patterns which are basically associated with khatamband (fir wood ceilings) and pinjarikari( wooden lattice work screens).
The walnut wood carving industry is one of the few traditional crafts of Kashmir that is totally devoid of any women participation, in any of the phases or stages of production.
The manufacturing of walnut wood carved goods has evolved into a highly evolved craft with streamlined stages of production.
The walnut wood products involve the manufacture of a variety of articles both decorative as well as utilitarian, ranging from furniture items to pure bowls, spoons, forks, panels etc.Though the industry is, to a large extent, limited to production of items that were being made in the last century; yet it still commands a highly profitable market.
During the Mughal times, inlay work (metal) in walnut wood was also widespread; but the art seems to have died down over the centuries. The walnut wood industry apparently suffered a decline during the Afghan and Sikh period before staging a revival during Dogra rule, when articles of furniture especially chairs and tables were manufactured especially for European markets.

Walnut wood carving is limited within the Muslim Community of Kashmir and is largely practiced in Srinagar city.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

pashmina shawls and stoles

Pashmina is one of the world's most luxurious natural fibers, derived from a rare Central Asian mountain goat. Nomads living in the rugged and remote Himalayan mountains tend to the goats. Only those goats found about 14,000 ft. where high speed winds and freezing temperatures exist, possess a special undercoat of "pashm." Other long, coarse hairs envelop the goat and conserve the delicateness of the animal's underfleece. It is this wool (pashm) which serves to make the shawls, refered to as Pashmina after being woven. 

"This type of goat is probably the most beautiful of all wool-producing goats," wrote S. Turner, England's ambassador to Tibet in 1783. "It is superior in beauty, color and texture to all others." For many generations, Pashmina shawls have been collected as heirlooms and honoured as symbols of prestige throughout the world.
Kashmir is the only place in the world where fine embroidered Pashmina Shawls have been woven, like Shahtoosh and Jamavar. Pashmina Shawls are hand-embroidered in Kashmir. Kashmir lies in the Valley of the Himalayas, surrounded by the highest mountains in the world. Kashmir was one of the important trade routes between east and west. Although it has a long history of political upheavals, the people of Kashmir have kept the art of shawl-weaving as one of their best forms of artistic talent.
From its early appearance as a graceful, naturalistic flowering plant in the 17th century, the motif commonly known as 'Paisley' represents Indian art through its mutations over the next two hundred years in the familiar teardrop shape.
At the court of the Mughal emperors of northern India, a single flowering-plant motif appeared and became a hallmark of Mughal art. In the Himalayan region of Kashmir, this design was used to embellish fine, goat-hair shoulder mantles and sashes woven for male officials of the Mughal court.
When the occasion calls for accessorizing with elegance, these fabulous scarves and shawls allow you to add those finishing touches of perfection. Exquisite body wrap, soft and light weight, yet very warm and cozy. Hand embroidered in typical Kashmiri stitch, which is so famous all over the world. One cannot even imagine the amount of labor gone into it in embroidering this lovely piece, truly a masterpiece, one would cherish forever.The embroidery is so fine and intricate, it takes months to embroider a fine pattern like this. Graceful and eye-catching, this luxurious shawl is hand-woven in semi pashmina in the valley of Kashmir, in India, and sells at very steep prices even in India. Perfect wear with ethnic and American dresses, casuals and jeans. A must have for elegant dressing. Beautiful and sophisticated, in midnight blue color with embroidery in shades of orange, peach and brown, as appearing in the pictures. Size: 78"x41" (198cm x 71cm) approx. Pictures do no justice at all to the actual product, kashmiri stitch has to been seen to be appreciated. 

kashmiri carpets.

There are numerous hand knotted woolen carpet producing centers in India but traditional hand knotted silk carpets in India can only be found in Kashmir. The origins of the traditional silk carpets of Kashmir can be traced to the Mughal period
Hand knotted pure silk carpets are world famous for their softness and craftsmanship. These carpets are very expensive due to their being labor intensive and it takes a couple of at least one year to create a good silk carpet. The process of creating a hand knotted silk carpet is lengthy and a lot of preparation has to be made by the craftsman before weaving the carpet. The yarn used determines the type of the carpet to be created. Woolen carpets are always created on a cotton base with woolen yarn. Silk yarn is sometimes used in woolen carpets as highlights on certain designs and motifs.
On the other hand silk carpets are those carpets, which are created on a silk pile. Silk carpets are also created on a cotton or woolen pile. Generally silk carpets are made up of 80% of silk yarn and 20% of cotton yarn. These carpets have more than 400 knots per square inch. 100% pure silk carpets have very high knotage per inch. The knots per square inch of such carpet can range between 400-1600 knots per square inch. This high percentage of knottage insures the life and durability of these carpets.
The craftsmen in Kashmir follow the traditional Persian \ Islamic designs of Kirman, Kashan, and lsfahan, Herat etc. Though there is a strong Persian influence in Kashmiri carpets, yet one can also see local variations.
The most recurring motif that is found on silk carpets from Kashmir is the depiction of the tree of life, in all its glory. The natural beauty of Kashmir and its picturesque views have inspired the carpet weavers. Other popular themes are: hunting scenes, bird and animal motifs and historic themes. These carpets come in a variety of colors and designs.
Carpets from Kashmir are subtle in comparison with the carpets produced from other parts of the country. It is because carpets made in Kashmir are made with yarn dyed with mineral colors, as vegetable dyes are not used at all. Hues of red, blue and yellow color are mainly used.