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Every state of India has its own special products. Diverse, aesthetic, handmade… they are a pride of workmanship for creators and pride of possession for owners. This article highlights the Arts and crafts of Madhya Pradesh, the Heart of India.

Land of Madhya Pradesh, as its name suggests is the central most province of India.  Its capital is Bhopal. Partly a tribal area, it also has influences of three religions –Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.  It has major national parks and important rivers flowing through it.  Art and craft have been given importance by the people of this region.  The same has been handed over from generation to generation. All these are factors influencing and boosting the amazing Arts and crafts scene in this state.

Here are some Intricate and time-consuming Arts and crafts of Madhya Pradesh

1. Carpet/Durries making


Wool Carpet making was initiated in Gwalior first.  Then this art was taken up by makers in Mandla and  Shahdol.  The carpets here are artistic with traditional motifs, floral and geometric designs on them.

Durries are manufactured in Sironj, Jhabua, Raigarh, Jabalpur, and Shahdol.  They are the thick floor covering made of cotton.  These products are made by rural women employing Punja technique to fashion bold multi-colored designs on them.

2. Jute crafts

Jute is available in abundance and hence used to make hanging lamps, baskets, swings, purses, footwear, table mats etc.

3. Bamboo and cane work

Cane and bamboo articles are utility pieces for tribal living in here.  These products are sturdy and known for workmanship.  The craftsmen belong to Baiga, Korku, and Gond tribes and sell their ware of baskets, fishing traps, tools and agricultural equipment in weekly markets called Basor around the state.

4. Textiles

This state is known for its exclusive Maheshwari and Chanderi sarees.  The most common techniques used are batik printing, hand block printing, and tye and dye.

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5. Zari

This craft is based out the capital city Bhopal and other cities like Gwalior and Indore.  It has been practiced here since the 16th century. This regal embroidery style work, also called zardosi, was patronized and even worn by the royals of the state.

6. Stuffed toys

Madhya Pradesh is famous for leather stuffed toys.  The toys are mostly animals like Giraffe, camel, horse and more.  The toys are manufactured in Ujjain.

7. Terracotta

madhya pradesh craft photo

Photo by Koshyk

Some Arts and crafts of Madhya Pradesh are unique to this state only. Terracotta art is the domain of the tribals of Bastar.  The craftsman creates exquisite and distinctive pieces of lamps, decorative horses, serpents, birds, pots, toys, masks, flower pots and sculptures in eye-catching colors.

8. Stone sculptures

The pronounced Stone carvings of Madhya Pradesh are on display to the world at ancient sites such as Khajuraho, rock-cut temples in Gwalior and Orchha.

The new generation stone sculptors working from Gwalior Tikamgarh and Jabalpur create Lattices or Jaalis, Stone pillars, human statues, and animal sculptors.

9. Woodcraft

With the presence of big forests in the state, the woodcraft is practiced since ages here.  Woodwork has been patronized for embellished ceilings, doors, windows, panels in olden days.  Now tourists can find lacquered wood artistry on boxes, bed posts, flower vases, cradles, toys and musical instruments such as dhanks, dhols, mandals, and dhangs.

Major areas where woodcraft is practiced are Sheopur-Kalan, Budhni, Rewa, and Gwalior.

10. Papier Mache and Batto Bai dolls

Papier mache art is created at places such as Ujjain, Bhopal, Ratlam, and Gwalior.  The raw material is scarp collected from the printing press that goes through many steps to result in colorful birds, figures of Gods and Goddess, mythology subjects, animals and masks.  These pieces look very realistic because the craftsman use photographs to create something very close to a real being.

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Tribal dolls are made of cloth rags and paper.  Rustic but attractive in looks, some of these dolls are even 5 feet tall.

11. Ornaments

This land is famous for Silver, bronze and mixed material ornaments.  Silver jewelry is very popular among women flock here, especially during marriages.

While Chhattisgarh is known for Gold and silver jewelry, the tribal centers such as Jhabia, Sheopur-Kalan and Tikamgarh offer ornaments including beads, feathers and cowries Metalcraft

12. Metalworks

The tribals of Madhya Pradesh belonging to Gond, Muria, Dhruva and Bhatra tribes make iron horses, tridents and swings and offer it to Lord Shiva.  Visitors to this place can view and buy various metal craft collectibles like hookahs, flower pots, oil lamps, god and goddess idols, and paandaan as collectibles.  Most of the metal crafts are created using lost wax process and are called dhokra work.

13. Folk Paintings

Vibrant Tribal art is another head under Arts and Crafts of Madhya Pradesh List.  It is, is practiced since ages.  The amazing paintings show socio-cultural life of the tribals.  They are created on different canvases, occasions, and techniques. A glimpse of various painting styles here:

  • Gond art – yellow and black colors used on paintings on walls, doors
  • Lipai – is done by Chhattisgarh artists using mud and designs are created by just using fingersTattoo – popular among and practiced by Badi community women
  • Pithora painting – done by Bhilala and Bhil tribals using Myths as the subject of paintings. Drawn on special occasions like marriages, childbirth etc.
  • Mandala floor and wall paintings – practiced by Tribals from Tanwarghar, Malwa, and Nimar.  A white color base for these drawings is obtained from cow dung and red clay.

Discover all these and more when you visit the vibrant and nature-bounded state of Madhya Pradesh.

Featured Photo by ann porteus, Sidewalk Tribal Gallery

The Amazing Arts And Crafts Of Madhya Pradesh

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