Gujarat is one of the oldest and the fastest growing states of India gracefully representing the genuine Indian tradition and culture at its best. Its economic and social growth is recognised in both domestic and international arena. Most of the rustic yet famous Gujarati arts were created by the ancestors for household utilities and ultimately got praised at a global level. The state of Gujarat is blessed with the vibrant and rich tradition of Handicrafts. The exclusive handworks possess the craftsmanship of the people. It stands unique with a wide range of art and crafts with aesthetic appeal. The handicraft industry in the state has contributed to the economic development of the state. Gujarati art and crafts are jewellery design, pottery, stone crafts, dhurries textile, embroidery and much more. Every artwork reflects the cultural practices, creativity, and love of people towards life and colour.
Some of the outstanding art and crafts in Gujarat are discussed as below –
Having its roots in nearly thousand years old cave paintings, the Pithora paintings are mostly widespread in central Gujarat and is a matchless art and tradition of the Rathwa community. The art is entirely rustic in its approach, performed at a very basic level by the villagers. A Pithora is a living proof of an ever- changing philosophy illustrating highly enriched folk art culture of Gujarat. A Pithora painting is created to pay respect to God and getting a wish granted from him. According to the tradition, the three walls and verandah of the home are painted with great celebration and joy. In the olden days, an animal design was in great trend but in recent years, paintings of various animals and modern items have also come in style.
The textile craft “Patola” saree of Gujarat is one of the earliest milestones in the history of world textile. The word “patola” is derived from the word “Patt” meaning silk in Malayalam and Tamil. Patola originated in the Patan region of northern Gujarat and a particular type of Patola woven in this region is called “Double-Ikkat”. Till date, no machines have been able to imitate the traditional Patola making process. One of the famous and the biggest selling fabrics, the Patola Silk is one of the finest hand-woven sarees produced today. A Patola saree takes around 4-6 months to make depending on the complications of the design. There are four different styles in the Patolas woven in Gujarat by the Salvi community. The double ikkat sarees with beautiful patterns of parrots, flowers, elephants, dancing figures were used by the Hindus and Jains. Special sarees with floral and geometrical patterns were woven specially for the Muslim Vora community. One of the finest hand- woven sarees from Gujarat, Patola of Patan is well- known for its colourful and strikingly beautiful geometrical pattern.
Bandhani- Tie and dye
Dyeing is a hereditary art. In the olden times, the cloth was dyed in colours extracted from flowers and trees. Bandhani – the Tie and dye fabric of Gujarat are the most demanded worldwide and best produced in India. These colourful intricate designs and patterns fulfil both comfort and style statements for Indian women. Specifically admired all over the world, the Bandhanis made up with “Jamadani” technique is produced in the finest cotton muslin is most famous. The price of the Bandhini depends not only on the fabric but also on the number of times it has to be tied and dyed and the complexity of the design. Bandhini of Bhuj, Jamnagar and Mandvi are famous all over the world and are easily available in all the shopping centres and markets.
Carpets / Dhurries
Dhurries, the handmade carpets embrace the art of colour mixing, cloth designing and complex weaving. The dhurrie making process is quite tough, thus demanding a high level of concentration and intricacy. The extensive weaving to produce finest blankets, carpets and rugs are one of the most amazing creativity of Gujarat. With an increase in the demand of the traditional dhurries, a large number of people have accepted weaving as their profession.
One of the oldest craft, pottery of Lothal region in Gujarat is as old as Harappan civilisation. The famous potteries include terracotta toys and earthen vessels manufactured in the Rann of Kutch. The bright and colourful earthen vessels are popular amongst the foreigners visiting this place every year. With the few turns of the wheel and expert flicks of the hand, village potters mould an ordinary mud into useful clay vessels, decorated by their wives with colourful lines and paintings. The artists these days blend contemporary and modern design to make it look unique.
Another well- known Gujarati speciality from Saurashtra and Khambhat, beadwork is one of the primitive embroideries having a huge decorative value thus an inspiration to many contemporary interior designers. The patterns and motifs are prepared by putting two and three beads together. Beadwork items are used in pot holders and wall decorations. Bhitiya, Abhala, Chaklas, Toran, Pachhitpatis etc are some of the famous ones. Beadwork torans placed over doorways is a hanging decorative piece which brings good luck to the house. Chaklas and Bhiitiya are furniture and wall decoratives. Pachhitpatis as the decorative pieces hung from the door corners to welcome visitors and guests. Gujarati embroidery is rich in mirrors with well knitted silken threads called Abhala.
Just like the Gujarati culture, art and craft of Gujarat has also marked its presence worldwide. The handicrafts of Gujarat have many customers in the market across the world. The art and crafts of Gujarat are really special.