ARTS & CRAFTS OF INDIA  

INTRODUCTION TO INDIAN CRAFTS 

For centuries Indian arts and crafts have been distinguished for their great aesthetic and functional value. In ancient times, the shilpis conceptualized the intricate designs and patterns, which were crafted painfully into the temples and the objects associated with them. India has the widest variety of crafts anywhere in the world. However diverse and intricate the range of craft forms produced by Indian craftsmen, the root of the creative process has always been the artisan tradition. It presents both the widest canvas of creative activity and the broadest spectrum of development.

Handicraft items that were patronized by the Mughal royalty show a remarkable refinement of workmanship. In these crafts the designs were very often influenced by the court paintings and miniature art derived from Persian or indigenous sources. These designs are evident in the Indian carpets, brocades, papier-mache, stone inlay and so on.


Historically speaking the discovery of the Indian arts and crafts by the officers, surveyors and archaeologists of the East India Company and the British Raj and their subsequent display at the India Museum in East India House around the first half of the 19th century was a remarkable event. Indian decorative arts were for the first time carefully studied, collected and appraised with the result that not only in England but also all over Europe, they influenced the public taste and excited the sensibilities of the designers. The Great Exhibition of London in 1851 showed for the first time in the West several Indian decorative objects produced in various materials. Several such exhibitions subsequently held in America, Australia and parts of Europe opened the eyes of the western world to the quality, beauty and sophistication of Indian designs, craftsmanship and materials. The South Kensington Museum, London collected Indian arts and crafts and utilised them for training designers and architects.

Another development was the use of Indian decorative motifs on colonial buildings designed by architects such as Robert Chisholm towards the end of l9th century. In 1904, George Watts and Percy Brown brought together a major exhibition and catalogue of Arts and Crafts of India at Delhi. Indian arts and crafts were thus systematically documented and catalogued for the first time.

 

 

 

 

 



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