Jammu & Kashmir
|About Jammu & Kashmir Crafts | Picture Gallery
Weaving and Embroidery
Shawls and carpets are famous woven products of Kashmir. The shawls made with Pashimina fabric, Ring shawl which is so fine that it can pass through a ring, Jamavar shawl with its symphony of colour schemes depicting architectural and mythological figures interwoven with landscape designs are popular. Carpet making is the national craft of Kashmir. It was introduced here by Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin. Hand-woven pile carpets (kalins) harmoniously depicted with floral and other designs are the most popular. The namda, felt rug made from beaten wool embroidered all over, the gabba- a floor covering, prepared from old woolens in a variety of forms and designs, the chain-stitch rug, made from Hessian cloth and coarse wool, over which floral and other motifs are worked are also famous.
The embroidery of Kashmir, called
kasida, is world-famous. Varied, rich in
colour, elaborate in detail and exquisite in execution, the kasida patterns are freely
drawn by the naqqash mostly from memory.
The finest kasida work, particularly embroidered on shawls or saris, has no 'wrong' side.
The chain-stitch is also used for the making of a large number of miscellaneous articles such as bags, screens and cushion covers.
Silver and Copperware
Plain and inlaid silverware of Kashmir are in great demand. The silverware includes silver tea-sets, flower vases, toilet sets, scent chests, ornamental picture-frames, cigarette-cases, tumblers, etc. Designs include lilac, leaves of the chinar and the lotus etc.
The Kashmiri artisan also produces excellent products of copper-ware consisting mostly of cooking pots and samovars (tea-kettle of Russian origin) and sundry articles for the household or the mantelpiece. There is a good demand for lovely copper trays inlet into tables of carved walnut-wood.
Papier-mâché craft, peculiar to Kashmir, was also introduced into the Valley by the great monarch, Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin, who has been aptly called the Akbar of Kashmir. The products, beautifully painted over with ornamental patterns, comprise picture-frames, pen-cases, screens (which can view with the Chinese counterparts), tables, tea-pots, writing sets, candle-sticks, handkerchief and tie boxes, vases, stamp boxes and other utility goods whose need is now fairly widespread. Green fields sloping towards the snow-capped mountains, sparkling streams running over rounded rocks, shikaras and lotuses blooming on the lakes, are the favourite papier-mâché patterns. The craftsmen have introduced brass and metal-lining for the new style of papier-mâché goods which makes them more durable and useful.
Wood work and Carving
Wood carving is one of the best known cottage industries of Kashmir. Walnut and chinar wood, are the main material for the wood-carving. Furniture and toilet articles such as chairs, cabinets, writing-or dining- tables, jewellery boxes and ornamental caskets are the popular products. Some of the walnut wood products-cigar boxes and trays, table-tops, handkerchief and collar boxes-are delicately carved. Floral designs of almost every conceivable variety are made with great accuracy of detail in chased or raise work.
Khatam-band is a speciality in Kashmir woodwork and comprises ceilings of rooms, made from thin panels of pine wood, cut into geometrical designs. Builders of houseboats have kept this old craft alive.The shrine of Khwaja Naqshband, near the Jama Masjid of Srinagar, presents the best example of this craft. The Kashmiri carpentry and wicker-work industries are also notable.