is an old hereditary craft with a wide prevalence in the rural
areas of India. Leather tanning as an art form reached its zenith
in India by 3000 B.C. The earliest skins used were those of tigers
and deer. Mats made out of the animal skins were used by rishis
and sadhus in the olden days.
largest leather products are in the footwear line. The traditional
ones are more original, individualistic and colourful and largely
embroidered or done up in brocade or decorated textile. The
extremely comfortable and fashionable kolhapuri chappals
are made in Maharashtra. One
of the most popular leather articles of Rajasthan is the Mojadi
or lutti - an attractive footwear item. Here the leather is
embroidered, punched, studded and stitched in various eye-catching
designs. The best-known centres of traditional footwear are Jaipur
and Jodhpur. Kupi,
a bottle made of camel hide to keep oil or 'attar' (perfume),
is a speciality of Bikaner. In the Manoti art, articles
like lamps and lampshades are made out of camel hides, which are
then coloured and decorated with floral designs and figures and
plated with thin gold leaves.
The leatherwork of Kashmir is very ornamental. In Punjab, appliqu�
is done with coloured leather pieces. Karnataka has been noted
for leather with metallic gold or silvery finish or painted with
figures or animals, mostly to form epic scenes. Madhya Pradesh's
embroidery on red leather with gold and silk is unique.
Fascinating articles such as wallets, pouches, handbags and belts
are made out of crocodile and snake skins. Leatherwork is also
extensively employed in book -binding.