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Woodcarvers create magic on the wood articles:Saharanpur
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Woodcarvers create magic on the wood articles:Saharanpur

  • Woodcarvers create magic on the wood articles:Saharanpur

Highlights

  • Saharanpur is well known for its perforated lacy craft

  • The woodcarvers create magic on the articles they prepare

(IIP) - Saharanpur is well known for its perforated lacy craft. Items are made of sisam, dudhi and sal. The woodcarvers create magic on the articles they prepare. The talent of wood carving is passed from generations to generations. Furniture is designed in a skilled manner having mehrab, jail and grapevine motifs. Carvers carve their imaginations on these articles and sometimes the carving is beautified with the stone inlay on ebony wood. The colour combinations used are attractive and present each item in a very pleasant manner.
 
Even today the front door of each household, which is considered a sacred threshold, has intricate wood carvings of Hindu deities and auspicious motifs like the hamsa/ mythical swan, padma/ lotus, poornakumbha /cornucopia, kaamadhenu and patterned floral motifs.
 
Other carved wooden items include small shrines and deities, low carved stools for marriages, carved fans for the deity, fertility couples and various small ceremonial containers. The carved panels of deities fixed to either end of a metre-long pole were the other ceremonial items. These panels are called kavadi and afre carried on the shoulders of a person to fulfill the vow to Lord Murugan or Karthikeya. Household kitchen instruments in wood such as grinders, vegetable cutters and serving ladle holders are items given in dowry.
 
Lathe-turned and lacquered toys in bright colors and at affordable prices are popular all over the state. Carved wooden toys, dolls and elephants exhibiting the skills of the artisan are also made.

Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh is a principle center for wood carving in India. The first organized wood carving unit is said to have been set up in 1882 by Atta Hussain, an immigrant from Multan. Closely associated with architecture, wood carving incorporated the design vocabulary of architectural carvings. These origins reflect in the finely chiseled screens and jaalis and the elaborate floral and vine patterns found in many contemporary products from Saharanpur.

Wood carving is done entirely by hand. In Saharanpur, sheesham is generally the wood of choice, though teak, rosewood, walnut and mango are also used. Designs are first made on paper, and transferred onto the wood using ink. These are then carved using a variety of chisels. The article is finished by buffing in order to bring out the shine of the wood. This is usually done with the help of a lathe mechanism.

Today, Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh is the principle center for wood carving. Here, the origins of the craft can be traced back to the late 19th century. Closely associated with architecture, wood carving incorporated the design vocabulary of architectural carvings. It was also influenced by Kashmiri designs, with many of the craftpersons having descended from Kashmiri immigrants. These influences continue to reflect in contemporary products like the finely chiseled screens and jaali work and the anguri or vine leaf pattern found in many Saharanpur products.
With its development into a major hub for woodwork, wood carvers from other centres have also migrated here. As a result, Saharanpur can boast of a wide and highly skilled repertoire of techniques and products, catering to both the domestic and export markets.

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