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Arts & Crafts of Rajasthan

Rajasthan is a mystical land that is immersed in a rich history of tradition, culture and an arts and craft scenario that is deep rooted in the identity of Rajasthan as a whole. Rajasthan art is the embodiment of all that Rajasthan stands for!

The lifestyle of the people of Rajasthan has primarily lent itself to the sharpening of the creative senses, intricate craftsmanship, and has provided the inspiration for its artists to create some of the most magnificent and elegant of creative treasures. A variety of raw materials like leather, stone, clay, wood, lac, glass, brass, textiles, gold etc are used to give a beautiful shape to crafts in Rajasthan.

The history of Rajasthan art goes back to as much as 2nd-1st century BC. The discovery of stone and terracotta sculptures, and cave paintings in the area around Hadoti and Baroli, have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that Rajasthan art has gone through a process of continuous evolution through the centuries..

The history of Rajasthan art goes back to as much as 2nd-1st century BC. The discovery of stone and terracotta sculptures, and cave paintings in the area around Hadoti and Baroli, have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that Rajasthan art has gone through a process of continuous evolution through the centuries.

Each period of Rajasthan’s history saw a new and dynamic contribution being made to its flourishing arts scene. The development of the arts and crafts in Rajasthan was also a result of the patronage of the kings and nobles, who gave positive encouragement to their artisans to indulge in activities like, painting, pottery, weaving, and marble and wood carving.

When you look at the arid landscape of Rajasthan, it’s not difficult to understand as to why the desire to decorate their houses with colorful and intricate objects is an obsession with its people. The importance given to Rajasthan art can be gauged from the fact that right from the humble hut of the peasants, to the grand palaces and forts of the kings, were beautifully decorated, with an eye for detail.

Even when the men went out to battle, they used swords, and shields adorned with intricate designs and tastefully ornamented with gold, silver, and precious stones. Women beautified themselves with an infinite variety of embroidered garments, exquisite jewellery that was embellished with precious and semi-precious stones, and a varied variety of tie and dye fabrics.

The centers of handicrafts in Rajasthan are distributed all over the State. Each region has a specialty of its own. For e.g. the 'meenakari' of Jaipur is renowned for its use of colors and its delicacy, enamel work of Nathdwara and Pratapgarh has been appreciated for its fine quality. Handicrafts in Rajasthan have earned world wide fame and are exported to countries all over the world.

Art and crafts in Rajasthan as well as handicrafts in Rajasthan can best be understood and differentiated if we categorise them.

Jewellery
Rajasthan art
 is also synonymous with its rich jewellery. Each era had its own unique style, which includes designs like jod, gajra, bajuband, tirnaniyan, rakhri, bala, gokhru etc. Traditionally Rajasthan men also wore their share of intricate ornaments which were in the form of earrings and chokers. Jewellery is an integral part of the art and culture of Rajasthan and this has been so for ages!

Puppets
You can't talk about the handicrafts in Rajasthan without mentioning the puppetry of Rajasthan. Puppets in Rajasthan are intricately designed and mean much more than mere dolls or playthings. The tradition of handmade puppets in Rajasthan is a thousand years old. These puppets from Rajasthan are known as 'katputlis' or Marionettes. They are colorful and gorgeous and are handcrafted using wood and cloth. These puppets bring to the fore the history of Rajasthan and therefore are an integral part of the crafts in Rajasthan.

Stone Carvings and Sculptures
Rajasthan art and its renown are an outcome of the statues that have been carved over the length and breadth of Rajasthan. These sculptures resonate with religious themes and are famous for their intricacy and all round elegance.

Ivory
Rajasthan women believe that the ivory bangle they wear have an auspicious significance. In terms of handicrafts in Rajasthan ivory is used to shape articles of mesmerizing beauty. Ivory has also been used as the base for execution of miniature paintings.

Wood and Sandalwood
Wooden carvings are the most significant symbols of Rajasthan art. These objects are quite affordable and are used as decorative pieces.

Glass and Lac
Bangles made from lac are bright in color and many a times have glass inlays.

Other Crafts in Rajasthan
Blue pottery, tie and dye, camel hide paintings, embroidery, carpets, wood and brass inlay work, hand block printing, durries, cloth painting, and terracotta sculptures are also found all over Rajasthan.