Crafts express a community’s true cultural identity. Traditional crafts works often depict the social and aesthetic character of a society and have been sustained over time not only because of their rich symbolic content but also because of their contribution to the social economic growth of the region. The rich cultural heritage of Madhya Pradesh is evident from the variety of traditional arts and crafts produced in the state from textiles to woodwork jewelry to leather products and toys to bamboo products and tribal arts Madhya Pradesh is a cornucopia of artisanal excellence. Its erstwhile royal rulers were enthusiastic patrons of the arts commissioning exquisite sculptures paintings embroidered textiles and jewelry.
This book attempts to bring out the strong socio economic and cultural factors that have been the inspiration for the evolution of the rich tradition of arts and crafts in Madhya Pradesh keeping the historical and cultural perspective in mind timeless traditions contemporary forms looks at how these arts and crafts have developed over time what their status is today and what the future holds for these aesthetic creations.
Tinoo Joshi served as development commissioner and Joint secretary in the ministry of textiles GOI. She was one of the key people to initiate the Shilp Guru Award scheme which honors and preserves the great heritage traditions of India and the first ever south Asia level award the UNESCO seal of excellence which aims to promote ecologically sustainable heritage and innovative products. Joshi was integral in organizing the first ever world Bamboo congress (2004) in India and the world carpet congress (2004). She was instrumental in the promotion of brand India in the handicrafts sector through the setting up of Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan and the India exposition Mart.
Another of Joshi’s contributions has been the recent publications Handmade in India conceptualized by her as a compendium of Indian handicrafts based on the cluster of crafts in India providing and authentic geographically based reference book. She is currently the Principle Secretary Department of women and child development government of Madhya Pradesh.
India’s large base of traditional artisans and weavers spread over different states in the country allows for an incredible range and diversity of artistic traditions and heritage. In this modern age when the definition of a market is fast changing and expanding due to rapidly evolving technological innovations handmade items are facing stiff competition even in the traditional market place. Given the significance of India’s rich cultural heritage is its worthwhile to undertake a journey to understand how the traditional arts and crafts of Madhya Pradesh have developed over time what their status is today and what the future holds for these aesthetic creations.
Crafts are a true expression of a community’s cultural identity. Traditionally artisans and weavers used natural and locally available resources combined their creative skill set and intellect to provide goods and services in many diverse forms. Traditional craft works often depict the social and aesthetic character of a society and have been sustained over time not only because of their rich symbolic content be it religious or socio cultural but also because of he contributions to the socio economic growth of the region. The arts and crafts of any region are thus inextricably linked to society as products and sustenance of culture.
Arts and crafts Under British Rule
Between 1850 and 1875 the British developed a number of art schools for training Indian artisans under the aegis of the department of public intervention. Lockwood Kipling (1837-1911) served as principal of the Mayo School of Arts in Lahore but he also took a serious interest in stimulation and sustaining traditional Indian skills such as wood carving furniture making and metal craft. In 1851 the great exhibition at London’s Crystal Palace included the display of textiles metal craft wood craft jewellery and enamel products arousing English interest in Indian arts and crafts. In 1883 the government of India actively sought to encourage arts and crafts and sponsored the publication of the illustrated Journal of Indian art and teaching. In 1886 a royal commission was organized. Led by the prince of Wales the colonial and Indian exhibit was displayed in London once again showcasing the excellence of Indian craftsmanship.
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