The annals of Kashmir craft lies in the fabric of the woven shawls, handiwork of the wood carvings, carpet making, copper works, stone carvings, paper mache and the decorative house boats. It’s truly a paradise for it preserves and reflects the skilled cultural art work since ages imbibing and displaying the cultural and traditional art and craft heritage of Kashmir . Any visitor who descends in the valley is attracted by the ornamental facade of the streets and buildings of Kashmir studded with such rich artifacts of marvelous creation.
Kashmir valley is recognised in the world for its unique vibrant heritage and culture that is brought to life by the Kashmiri artisans . There are varieties of handicrafts which allure the eyes of the visitors across the world.
Ranges from furniture like tables, chairs, to articles of personal use like cigar boxes, jewellery boxes and photo frames implying the eclectic beauty of Kashmir is embodied in the architectural magnificence of walnut wood carvings. The shrines of Noor-ud-din-Wali at Charar-e-Sharif, the Naqshbandi Mosque, or the shrine of Nund Rishi in Kashmir, are the classical walnut wood carved monuments an awe and ecstasy for tourists around the world. It is one revelation in the world where walnut is available above 5000 feet sea level. The craftsmanship and skill of artisans are witnessed in the minutely chiselled architecture which is adored world over.
It is a decorative which involves use of composite ground paper formalized into artefacts designed painted by expert craftsman. Ring boxes, boxes of assorted shapes and sizes, flower vases, bowls, key chains etc., are a numerous forms of the paper mache handicrafts superior designs. Paper mache is a French word meaning chewed composite material ie., paper pieces of old pulp reinforced with textiles and glues. Two main steps are involved in making the artefact. First the structural masterpiece is made from the pulp which is then painted with traditional motifs, giving a dimensionality to the product. It is quite time taking and labour oriented. It is 700 years of old art requiring days to produce a single craft. It is an artistic ideal of craftsmanship.
The Kashmiri artisans produce excellent products of copperware consisting of cooking pots and tea kettles for household and architectural show piece. It’s a tradition to serve the tourists from different parts of the world with delicacies of Kashmir in copper plates and bowls especially in renownrd restaurants. Many household celebrate the feast of Ramzan with the delicacy ‘Roganghosh’ in copper utensils.
Self-taught fashion designer Sugandha Kedia is promoting authentic Kashmiri shawls through her latest venture Dusala Kashmir. None excels in the beauty, color, texture and elegant designs of Kashmiri shawls. Basically three types of shawls are available Shahtoosh, Pashmina and Raffal. Mostly all Kashmir shawls were made by hand. It took between six months and a year to make one shawl. These antique shawls were made from Pashmina wool, taken from the underhair of pashmina goats living in the high-altitude plains of Tibet, Nepal and Ladakh. Raffal shawls were made by thick Merino wool. There is no tourist who doesn’t shop for this exquisite collection of shawls from Kashmir.
It is an ancient art where pieces of rough natural stones are made into an refined art. It is by the controlled hand chiselling of the stone by a craftsman who scripts on the stone with Kashmiri scriptures. The art of stone carving is found in various places of Kashmir, but Pantha chowk is the famous among all. The artists of the area are considered to be the best in carving. This place has a history for centuries. Most of the people in the area are associated with the trading of stones. The gates of Kashmir Assembly, High court, Makhdoom sahib and many fountains in the Srinagar city are carved from Devri stones showing its importance in Kashmiri culture.
Kashmir Willow Work
At Various places in the Kashmir valley the willow is interwoven to form furniture, chairs tables baskets etc. These handicrafts continue to thrive and form the backyard economy in parts of rural Kashmir. Also, Kashmir Willow makes the best selling cricket bats ,fondly used by many international and national batsman.