Tarkashi of Mainpuri
- It was mainly used for khadaous (wooden sandals), a necessity for every household
- In Saharanpur and Nagina the designs are mostly floral not very intricate
(IIP) - Tarkashi, a popular artform from Mainpuri in Uttar Pradesh, is primarily brass wire inlay work on wood. It was mainly used for khadaous (wooden sandals), a necessity for every household, since leather was considered unclean. The tarkashi craft of Uttar Pradesh is today known for its fine inlay work with brass wire, strips and motifs on dark sheesham with fine dots and patterned lines and is used extensively for furniture and boxes..Wood carving is widely practiced in the stat- Saharanpur, Nagina, Pilakhuwa,Mainpuri , Bijnor, Aligarh, Bareily, Bulandshahr,Lucknow and Mathura.The region has a well developed repertoire of wood work-brass and copper wire and sheetinlay in Sheesham wood;carving done on sheesham,ebony,neem,sal wood for use infurniture;jaali,fretworked lattice screens and panels and wood inlaid with different coloured woods.Mainpuri in the south-central part of the state,is a tarkashi,metal inlay in wood,cluster.Pilakhuwa in Ghaziabad district,was a well known block printing centre upported by block makers who had migrated from Farrukhabad to carvewood and brass-lined blocks.Their block carving skillswere later adapted for making complex wooden boxes forexport due to the decline in the block printing craft thatwas facing competition from screen printing.Craftsmen in
Nagina and Bijnor has shifted from carving ebony wood to sheesham.The wood carving crafts of this region have evolved and today use motorized lathes;machines for drilling.Jig-saw cutting,sanding and for processing and seasoning of timber.The wooden products are still influenced by handwork like tarkashi and carving with hand tools-craft skills that provide employ-ment to thousands of people in the region.
In Saharanpur and Nagina the designs are mostly floral not very intricate.In Mainpuri,where the craft originated ,the tarkashi is very fine.Intricate floral and geometric jaals are characteristically interspersed with tiny bhiriyans,dots.Bhiriyans are directly hammered into the wood.Initially both engraving and inlay was done by the same craftsman but now both are specialized skills in the karkhana,workshops.Finished pieces are assembledd by tarkhans,carpenters.Craftemen have also begun incorporating camel bone,bone powder,marble dust and silver with the wire inlay.In Saharanpur tarkashi developed from wood carving which was introduced when kashmiri craftsmen visited the place around the 1860s.In Mainpuri the craft was patronized by the Nawabs.Among the earliest products inlaid were khadaun,wooden slippers worn by pious Hindus.