If you have thought, that Kashmiri craft is all about embroidered shawls, carpets with intricate designs and few utility things designed with wooden carvings… then maybe you have to consider reading this post.

Even I was unaware of the various art forms that J&K state offers. Am sure Kashmiri people are so patient and peace-loving; that they make adorable things to beautify the world around.

So if you will ever visit Jammu and Kashmir, then do consider to shop from the below-mentioned art forms.

 

Here’s the list of Kashmiri Crafting done on Fabric

PHULKARI

Since the 15th century, Phulkari is a popular style of embroidery using bright floral designs.

The word ‘phul‘ means flower and ‘kari‘ means craft. Phulkari is a traditional craft of Jammu. And it is a domestic art practised by women for their own use. 

In addition, residents of Jammu consider a bride’s trousseau incomplete without phulkari.

Earlier, the artisans embroidered only on salwar-kameez and dupattas. But now phulkari is on handkerchiefs, bags, sofa covers, jackets, wall-hangings etc. Wait for it… also on footwear.

They look stunning!! But they are so darn costly.

TILLA WORK

Tilla work is a traditional Kashmiri craft used to embellish pherans and shawls, but now can be seen on sarees, salwar-kameez and other garments. It is a style of embroidery which involves the use of gold or silver zari (tilla) thread. 

Artisans painstakingly embellish the fabric with designs made by silver or gold thread secured by cotton thread.

The designs vary from traditional intricate patterns requiring a lot of time to finish, to simpler ones which require less thread and labour.

The most common motifs used are Pamposh (lotus), Chinar, Badam (almond). A brides trousseau is considered incomplete without a tilla pheran.

Sigh!… don’t ask 😉 got more than needed… all in one piece.

KASHMIRI CARPET

A Kashmiri carpet involves the most intricate forms of weaving. The weaving has almost one million knots per square meter. A craftsman turns a silk carpet into a marvellous piece of art.

Famous throughout the world, carpet weaving in Kashmir has been passed and perfected through generations. They are woven on wooden looms across rural and urban Kashmir.

Such a carpet is completed in several months or years depending on the density and size. Raw materials used are wool, silk and mercerized cotton.

Due to these astounding features, the Kashmiri carpets are so heavily priced. Furthermore, the availability is going lesser.

LACHKA

Lachka is a tailored cap worn by Gujjar women and children. It is closely fitted and has a flap extending down to the neck at the back.

Artisans embroider the Lachkas in a cotton thread in bright colours with designs mostly in geometrical shapes like circles, triangles and wave-like lines.

The finely embroidered caps are decorated with coins, buttons, amulets, shells and beads.

KANI SHAWLS

Kani shawls are the most exquisite and famous shawls from Kashmir. It is like an artistic majesty that has woven into a shawl.

Craftsmen weave the shawls with special wooden needles called Kanis in Kashmiri. With highly specialized weaving technique, Kani shawl takes at least a year or two depending on the design.

These shawls are exclusive and expensive because of their extraordinary beauty, skill and time involved. And trust me, they are super soft.

Have you ever heard of Kashmiri Art forms used on these Materials?

PAPIER MACHE

The name Papier Mache came from the French word meaning ‘chewed paper’. It involves composite material consisting of paper pulp sometimes reinforced with textiles. Thereafter, it is bound with an adhesive such as glue, starch or wallpaper paste.

Through this decorative art, local craftsmen transform a variety of utility articles into rare art pieces.

The process comprises of two phases, the sakhtsazi (making the object) and the naqashi (painting the surface).

KANDKARI

Kandkari is an exclusive craft in copperware that master-smiths of Kashmir have kept alive for centuries. The craftsmen engrave copper utensils for geometrical and calligraphic motifs.

The designs on copperware items are unique and attractive. Kashmiri Samovar is the most famous product of Kandkari work. Native people use samovar (kettle) to prepare Kehwa and Nun Chai.

The other products on which you will see the beautiful craft on are bowls, frames, flower vases, tea sets and scent chests.

By the way, I somehow managed to learn an authentic Kehwa. But at times I still do fall back. It is a very soothing drink in morning though.

BINNA WORK

In various parts of Jammu, women pursue straw work as a leisure-time activity. But the straw craft ‘Binna’ of Kishtwar is the best.

The mineral rich brown soil of Kishtwar lends a special quality to wheat and the straw which is extraordinarily smooth and lustrous.

Artisans use Kishtwar artform to weave round and oblong mats, containers and trays of various kinds with a unique finish. It looks so special 🙂

KASHMIRI WOOD CARVING

Traditionally, wood-carving has been an aesthetically vibrant art form in Kashmir. The capital of J&K has some of the best walnut wood carving done, anywhere in the world.

Craftsmen etch floral or other patterns through a dexterous use of mallet and chisel on wood.

An artisan uses a variety of objects for Woodcarving like:

  • tables
  • chairs
  • desks
  • dining tables
  • jewellery boxes
  • photo frames
  • and various other articles used for interior decoration.

It is also the most available artform, anywhere in the Indian market.

KANGER

No family in Kashmir can get over the winter without a Kanger. Though we’re in Pune, we have it in our home too. Hihi!!

The craftsmen make a small portable earthenware-lined wicker basket. Consequently, it becomes a warming pot when filled with burning coal.

And no matter how many heating devices are there in the market nowadays, its popularity and utility remain intact.

The makers name the Kanger according to their zonal names. For e.g:

  • Tchaar Kanger
  • Bandepoor Kanger
  • Islambaed Kanger

For some Kangeris, artisans use fine willow for intricate weaves, while for others they use coarse and thick material.

KHATAMBAND

Khatamband is an art of making a ceiling. It is a rare and incredibly wonderful speciality of in the woodwork.

The craftsmen fit small pieces of wood (preferably walnut or deodar wood) in geometrical patterns without the use of nails.

A completed ceiling presents an exquisite design. Most noteworthy pint is that; We can then easily disassemble and reassemble, according to the requirement. I believe that’s a dream for any interior designer.

Thangka (in Ladakh) is a traditional Himalayan Buddhist scroll painting. It depicts the life of Buddha, also various other lamas and deities (bodhisattvas).
 
An artist undergoes rigorous spiritual and artistic training to learn the craft. They paint on white cloth plastered with local clay.
 
Such type of clay is available in plenty in the village Spituk and places like Lamayuru.
 
Thangka is a religious art. It also is a great meditation tool.  Hence, it helps in bringing one further toward the path of enlightenment.

 

I hope you enjoyed deep diving into the sea of Kashmir art and tradition. And I hope it will be of great use to you.

I am eager to know whether you ever owned an authentic Kashmiri product? If it’s a yes, then, which one? Else, which product will you buy?

Will catch soon!! XO

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