Art & Craft of South India
South Indian states Art & Craft are appear to be an essential part of the lives of South Indians. The prosperity of South India can be seen in its handicrafts which are very popular. South Indian craft has its own appeal and magnificence which catches the attention of a large number of people from across the world.
Popular Crafts of South Indian States
Crafts of South Indian States are basic part of Indian society which characterizes its cultural multiplicity. Following are the popular crafts of South Indian States:
Woodcraft of South India has some different styles which are famous across the globe. It is a popular craft in South India because this area is awarded with plentiful forests which are loaded in different varieties of wood. Wooden handicrafts includes items like shaped figurines, attractive pieces, furniture and accessories, utensils, beads, panels and a lot of more. ‘Channapatna’ in Karnataka and ‘Kondapalli’ in Andhra Pradesh are famous across the world for its wooden toys. Karnataka is famous for carvings and gracefully beautiful decorative pieces made from sandalwood.
Among all the silk garments, Kanchipuram silk of Tamil Nadu is the most popular one. The other popular handicrafts of this state are items made from palm leaves and Palmyra fibres, metal ware, brass and bronze statues, hand woven clothes and attractive Jewellery. Some of the popular handicrafts of Kerala are ivory, gold and silver Jewellery, bamboo mat paintings, and different types of lamps, Kathakali masks and dolls.
Stone carving is another chief handicraft of South India. Some of them are in filigreed, fretted marble or sandstone. Some of the popular places of stone carvings are Meenakshi and Rameshwaram Temple of Tamil Nadu, Tirupati and Gundala Mallikarjuna Swami Temple of Andhra Pradesh and Cave and Vithala Temple of Karnataka. Bidri is a particular metal handicraft done in Andhra Pradesh. A particular type of mud from Bidar is used in oxidizing and therefore it is called Bidri. Bidri artwork designs have comprised different patterns over the centuries including stars. Plants, Animals, Flowers and other patterns that are typically contained within cautiously arranged balanced geometric fields
Pottery is another form of craft, which is more or less practiced in all south Indian states. Pottery from Karukurichi in Tirunelveli district is noted for its attractive shapes and technical superiority. The base colors for the pottery of Tamil Nadu are red, black and grey colour. A glossier finish is given after a coating of red ochre. Khanapur in Belgaum district of Karnataka is famous for making large sized containers and jars because of the availability of a local clay.
Embroidery is also very much a part of the South Indians. In Tanjore in Tamil Nadu a different style of applique work is done for decoration on temple hangings. Andhra Pradesh is famous for bead embroidery, which is done on fine fabrics to adorn them. It is usually done on sarees and blouse pieces. Jangaon is famous for this type of work. White and colored beads are used on dark and bright bases. Karnataka is famous for kasuti embroidery. It is done with two types of stitches and the embroidery has a soft feminine angle.
The crafts of Andhra Pradesh are well known for their aesthetic and utilitarian value. The tradition of craft in Andhra Pradesh has been carried on for generations and has become industries in themselves. The handicrafts epitomize the rich cultural heritage of the state.
The Banjara Needle Craft (embroidery) belong to the nomads and wanderers and the embroidery of this form is very rich and flamboyant.
The Bidri Craft originated in Hyderabad of Andhra Pradesh. It involves silver work on metals, which is intricate. Bidri is engraving with a sharp chisel on a metal base, which can be an alloy of zinc, copper, tin and lead. Silver wires are wrapped on the engraved patterns by hammering. Some of the bidriware items are Hukkah bases, trays, spoon, vases, boxes of various sizes,paper cutters and pencil boxes, ashtrays and buttons
Bronze castings are bronze idols, which are based on verses from the Shilpashastra. These verses were called dhyana and it contains instructions for the craftsmen about the physical measurements, proportions, symbols to be used and description of the deity.
The Budithi Brassware is also an exquisite craft of the state, which originated in a small village called Budithi. Budithi is well known for creating beautiful shapes out of alloy. These shapes are available in modern as well antique style.
The Metal crafts of Pembarthi originated in the small village of Pembarthi, which is nearly one hundred kilometers from Hyderabad. The intricate brass work flourished here during the reign of the Kakatiya dynasty.
The Durgi Stone craft began its journey from Durgi, which is situated at a distance of ten kilometers from Macherla. Some of the exquisite pieces of the Durgi stone craft is found in the Nagarjunakonda museum.
Kondapalli Toys belong to the Kondapalli district of the state and are also called Tella Poniki. The toys are made up of sawdust, tamarind seed powder, enamel gums and watercolors. These realistic toys are crafted by hereditary craftsmen and mostly are single figures of deities or real life images like boy milking cow, woman cooking etc.
The Lacquer craft requires the application of lacquer on wood to provide a distinguishing appeal. It is mainly found in Ethioppaka of Andhra Pradesh.
In the Adilabad district of the state, in Nirmal town, the Nirmal art flourishes. Nirmal arts consist of scenes and characters from the Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana.
The manufacturing of Veena is also an art in Andhra Pradesh. It is an integral part of Carnatic music, which is renowned all over the world for its melody and harmony.
An important craft in the state is the silver filigree work. The town of Karimnagar is famous fro this craft. The perfume containers, pan daans, hookahs, jewel boxes etc reflect the excellent craftsmanship and the dexterity with which the work is done.
Andhra Pradesh is also known for its excellent handlooms. Handloom of Andhra Pradesh with its sheer color has become a craft in itself. The saris of the state have their own style and have developed for generations. The Chirala textile is a remarkable craft of the state. It is made by using a large quantity of oil, which is used for preparing the yarn for weaving. After finishing the fabric, it is wrapped with wax and clay before dyeing in selected colors. The Dharmavaram silk sarees are famous all over the world. The borders of the saris are broad with brocaded gold patterns and also have butta. There are exclusive designs on the pallus.
The Persians who migrated to Andhra Pradesh during the Muhammad in regime brought the art form of the carpets to India. Later, the carpet industry developed in Eluru and came to be known as the Eluru carpets. The Gawal, Ikat, Mangalgiriand Uppada are the other famous handloom sarees of Andhra Pradesh. The Kalamkari fabric of Machilipatnam is famous all over the world for the beautiful vegetable colors used on the clothes. It involves a range of special mythological designs for Hindus and is used in tent lining cloth, table clothes and curtain clothes. Machilipatnam's Kalamkari block prints are rich with the imagery of fine floral and vine themes, roses, amris etc.
Bead embroidery on textiles is also very famous. They are embellishments on fine fabrics and this type of embroidery is usually done on sarees and blouse pieces. White and coloured beads are usually used on dark and bright shades to bring out the beauty of the bead design. Jangaon is renowned for this craft.
Crafts of Karnataka have passed on from one generation to the next and bear testimony to the skill, aesthetic sensibilities and decorative abilities of the craftsperson. They have received patronage from the royalty in the past. The crafts of the state include woodcarving, ivory craving, kasuti embroidery, durries, pottery and cheennapatna toys. The traditional craftsmen in Karnataka inlaid rosewood and ebony with ivory. The doors of Amba Vilas place in Mysore, Seringapatnam mausoleum bear ample testimony of this form of craft. The daily use items of the wood inlay item include furniture items, powder boxes, bowls, puja mandaps, wall hangings, etc. The tradition of crafts in Karnataka has been religiously followed through ages.
Traditional Crafts of Karnataka
Woodcarving is a traditional craft of Karnataka, which is done on sandalwood and rosewood. This skill requires deftness, as any form of carving should be identified when viewed from any angle. All the items are artistically and realistically sculpted. Mysore's Gudigar or the wood carving community of Karnataka is known for the carvings on fragrant close-grained Srigandha sandalwood of Karnataka. The designs include carved flowers, creepers, birds and animals etc. The best of sandalwood carving reflects the unique craftsmanship of the artists. The toys of Cheennapatna bear ample testimony to the artistic skill of the craftsmen. The range of traditional Cheennapatna toys include, cooking vessels although today planes, trams, trucks, rattle etc are also made. Khanpur in Belgaum district of Karnataka is known for pottery, which includes large sized containers and jars, for storing food items. The local clay is excellent and a thin variety of pottery has developed with designs embossed on it.
Weaving is a household craft of Karnataka. Cotton sarees are woven in dark earthy colors with heavy maroon or chocolate colors to mark the borders. There are sarees in mat design in white or yellow; or in the rudraksh pattern. The pallu is usually in alterations of white and red hands with mounts at the two ends, woven either in cotton or silk. Irkal is a special sari of the area that is made in rich colors like pomegranate, red, peacock blue, parrot green etc.
One of the most popular types of crafts of Karnataka is wood carving. This state has successfully occupied a place of pride in the field of wood carving. Karnataka has a vast forest reserve that provides enough raw materials for this craft. The foremost specimen of wood carving in Karnataka is the ancient temple wood architecture, where wood has been carved finely into sculptures. Further, in the world of crafts, the kasuti embroidery of Karnataka has carved a niche for itself and has been widely acclaimed by the connoisseurs of crafts all over the world. The designs of kasuti embroidery can range from architecture to cradles and animal figures. The designs have a feminine angle and are mostly done in two stitches namely, the gavanti line or double running stitch and murgi or the zigzag stitch. Kasuti is essentially used for decorating sarees and blouses and is best when done on thick materials against dark Indian shades.
Navalgund in Dharwad district of Karnataka is best known for its colourful durries. The durries are marked with intricate design and stunning colours. The designs are usually in geometrical juxtaposition. They are not only in demand within the country but outside as well. The durries are outlined in delicate floral motifs with an occasional bird or animal form added to it. A special type of durrie called sutada is made in the Bijapur district and Dharwad district. They have simple horizontal stripes in different colours. There are special designs, which lend significance to the object.
In the past, Ivory carving was another popular craft form of Karnataka. The different types of crafts of this state wonderfully reveal the royal delicacy as well as efficiency of the craftsmen.
The crafts of Kerala are completely indigenous which range from woodcarvings, metalwork, wood inlay, ivory craft and stone craft. The raw materials are used very skillfully by the craftsmen of Kerala without sacrificing the requirements of aesthetics. A variety of items are carved out of coconut shells. These include bowls, vases, teapots and ladles. Kerala has an ancient tradition of stone crafts. Since Kerala has a rich variety of granites, it is used for making images. Changanur is an important centre of stone craft in the state. Apart from images, stone is also used in making utility items and structures. Lace and embroidery work of high quality is being done by women in several parts of Kerala. The handicrafts of Kerala, noted for their uniqueness in style, perfection of form and elegance of design form an invaluable part of the life stream of Kerala culture.
The craftsmen of Kerala have also developed a variety of handicrafts using the rich wealth of flora in the state. Articles such as pillow covers, cushions, vanity bags, purses, hats etc., are also made of screw pine. The art of weaving bamboo-reed mats, baskets and fancy articles is also one of the simplest of Kerala handicrafts. Kora grass is similarly used for making mats of different sizes and colors. Rattan is used in the manufacture of articles of daily use like chairs, settees, teapots, cradles, trays, shopping bags and a variety of other utility-cum-fancy articles. The coconut shell is used for the manufacture of such articles of utility and beauty as lamp stands, flower vases, ashtrays etc. Wood Carving, Marquetry in wood, Ivory and Buffalo horn Carving, Screw Pine mat making, Bamboo Reed Weaving, Palmyra Leaf Weaving, Embroidery and Lace Making, Lapidary work, Granite carving, Coconut shell carving, Lacquer work, Cotton map making, toys and dolls, Jewellery, coir products, musical instruments manufacturing are also some of the important handicraft making activities of Kerala.
Wood Crafts in Kerala
Wood craft is one of the ancient arts of Kerala as is testified to by the temples and churches of the state which abound in wood carvings. Blessed with fine quality tropical wood like the rosewood, the white cedar, the durable teak and the slender bamboo, it is natural for the people of the state to have a tradition of woodcarvings. Woodcarvings of Kerala can also be seen in ancient temples and churches. Elephants in variety of postures and sizes are excellent pieces of woodwork, which is reproduced in mostly all varieties of wood namely, rosewood, sandalwood, cedar and teak. The rosewood elephant is embellished with ceremonial umbrella and howdah after the temple elephants of Thrissur. Beautifully female figures are also carved out of kumbli wood. Different woods are used for different purposes, so while rosewood bears a shade of grimness, the light colored cedar and the fragrant sandalwood highlight a different genre of creativity. Items of furniture like chairs, tables, sofas, cots, radio castings, etc., and models of animals and deities, toys and Kathakali accessories produced by Kerala craftsmen are very much in demand. The models of caparisoned elephants and the carvings of Kathakali dance-dolls are other items having huge demand.
Metal Crafts in Kerala
The craftsmen of Kerala prepare several images of gods and goddesses with bell metal casting. The bell metal industry of Kerala is popular for the Aranmula metal mirror. The shape of this mirror is oval. A standard mirror measures about 6 inches in length and has a handle by which it is to be held. The art of preparing this Aranmula metal mirror is kept it almost as the family secret for several years by the artisans.
Another beautiful tradition of Kerala handicrafts is the making of ivory, bamboo, palm leaves, seashells, coconut shells, clay, cloth, stone, etc. Now, the traces of these handicrafts of Kerala can be seen in places, old heritage homes, museums, etc. Kerala is also famous for its carvings, cast bell metal work, Jewellery, granite idols, pillars, coir, coconut shell products, carvings in wood, especially rosewood or sandalwood, snake boat models and other figurines. Drums like the chanda, maddalam, mridangam and edakka are carved out of single piece logs. It has been rightly said that crafts virtually run in the blood of Kerala and therefore the quest for innovation and invention continues even today in the state.