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Wood Work In India - Wood Crafts India

Wood has been part of Indian life and culture since times immemorial. India exhibits the tradition of exquisite natural beauty and handsome wooden handicraft. The vast cultural and ethnic diversity has enabled a variety of motifs, techniques and crafts to flourish on this land. Unique in their style, wooden work reflects the mood in Indian heritage.

India has a tradition of elaborate woodwork designs for architectural purposes as well as for the manufacture of furniture. Wood Crafts India is not only far ahead of the rest of the Asian woodwork, but also much better than the other woodworking ideas worldwide. In the rural areas the people for their personal use prepared simple objects of exquisite form, which vary from household furniture to animal figures. It is this, which has given a wide variety of styles to wood work in India and also in various parts of India.

Types of Wood

India abounds in trees which provide the raw material for woodcraft, in fact, Indian wood is quite famous worldwide. There are various types of wood available for carving and furniture making puposes. In India wood that are used for ornamental work are walnut, these provide the base for the fine workmanship of Kashmir and sandalwood, with its delicate natural fragrance is used in Mysore and a few other places in South India. Teak wood, sheesham, deodar, ebony, redwood, rosewood, red cedar, sal and many others are the wood from India which are extensively used by Indian craftsmen, as they lend themselves to fine decorative carving and inlay work.


Techniques

Indian woodworkers continue to work in the style of their ancestors with the simplest of tools. The skill of the Indian wood-carver is not restricted to small objects of domestic use, but extends to the fashioning of panels, columns, friezes, struts, balconies, doors, windows, ceilings or entire houses. Beams more than 250 years old, have shown no deflection under constant load. The wood is preserved simply but effectively, such as by rubbing oil of bel- a fruit. The technique of applying timber boarding as reinforcement to brick- work, is evident in the multi-storeyed structures of urban existence, dating to the 2nd century BC.

Designs & Motifs

Wooden Work The states of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka and Kerala have developed distinctive styles of working in wood. Each region has developed its own style of wooden structures, carvings and inlay work. Paintings in rose wood from Mysore, jewelry box, wooden tray and tea-coasters cut out of Shesham wood from Saharanpur, the popular Mughal design of Uttar Pradesh such as the jali are few renowned examples of Indian woodwork. Some of the most common motifs ornamented on Indian furniture and other wood items are a variety of flowers, birds such as parrots, peacocks and pigeons, and animals such as deer, horse and elephants. Inlaying with fine brass wires (tarkashi), has received renewed attention in recent years.

Places known for exellent woodwork

Although produced in many different parts of the country, but a few centers have become famous for their mastery in various aspects of Indian woodwork like carving, inlaying, turning or lacquering. These famous places of wood furniture from India are listed below:

Gujarat : Besides carved chests and almirahs, Gujarat has become synonymous with the wooden swing. The varieties of swings, range from unvarnished hewn wood to richly lacquered. The frame of the cradle may have a highly polished surface or just rough beams put together, but the cradle is always, just a rectangular piece of cloth suspended by rings, in the frame. Sankheda village, in Gujarat has a unique tradition of applying indigenously developed silver, gold and bronze colors on wood. Surat has a tradition or marquetry-work, which is locally called sadeli.

Kashmir : Kashmir is the other area where excessive wood- work has been used for structures, since ancient times. Houses are lined with wood, ceilings worked in geometrical patterns and windows in lattice work. The Kashmiri houseboat, made entirely of a specially seasoned wood that does not warp in the water as well as Kashmir furniture which is an integral part of Kashmiri houseboat, is a visual delight.

Hoshiarpur (Punjab) : Wood workers here specialize in inlaying ivory, now more or less replaced by plastic in the interest of low costing. Intricate designs received much royal patronage a couple of generations ago. Wooden furniture trays, and mirror frames repeat certain basic motifs and ornamentation derived from the environment.

Saharanpur (U.P.) : This is the most flourishing commercial centre for wood carving. Sheesham and teak are used for the small scale manufacture of traditional as well as newly-designed products-screens, cigarette boxes, tables, trivets, bookends and many others. Saharanpur furniture designs are vouched for their impeccable designs and carvings worldwide. Thus, Saharanpur now also concentrates on wood seasoning or the preparation of wood to be crafted, by mellowing it and making it proof against cracking and splitting. It is precisely the reason why Saharanpur wooden furniture is regarded as one of the best options in wood furniture.

Kerala : Wood crafts in the state of Kerala, "God's own country", varies from household furniture to animal figures, which contribute towards a major economical as well as cultural activity. These carvings from wooden furniture Kerala take us into the journey of exquisite arena handicrafts unleashing the beautiful world of art. The furniture in Kerala only represents its tradition but also carries a major impression of spiritual values and thoughts.

Other areas : West Bengal has its own tradition of strong folk carving. Carved figures, furniture, cabinets. jewelery boxes, chests and lamp stands produced in Bihar are noted for their elegant designs. Orissa excels in making beautiful dowry chests of painted wood, in addition to carved figures of Lord Jagannath, the main deity or the temple at Puri. Andhra Pradesh is famous for its colorful Kondapalli toys.



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