Indian art is rich in technique, culture, heritage, and history. With stark motifs, bold colours, and traditional figures, Indian art is one that cannot play low. Many artisans, for generations, have been creating traditional art that has been passed onto them from their forefathers and strives to keep alive the legacy. However, they often find themselves lacking the means to reach a global market or even influence Indian buyers. With no recognition and minimal income. many artisans today are finding it difficult to continue making art and gradually giving up the legacy to find other jobs.
Moved by their condition and keen to offer them a voice, a team of patrons started Artisanscrest- an e-commerce brand that is on the constant lookout for such traditional artisans to provide them with a platform to showcase and sell their art. With over (years of experience) and more than (number of products), the team is hoping to make a strong impact and keep Indian art alive in all its glory.
On one such occasion, we had the opportunity to make acquaintance with Rajiv Ji who specialises in the Lost Wax technique of art. Known as Madhuchista Vidhana in Sanskrit, the history of this art style dates back to almost 6000 years ago and it is said that NASA now uses a similar idea to produce its equipment.
An age-old style of art, it is often mentioned in the Vedas under Shilpa Shastra (the science of making arts and craft) section. Bronze statues in India are popular for idol worship and their prominence is great owing to the same. However, the art style has been extended to crafting large temple bells, jhoola bells, and other everyday items.
(Image Source: https://in.pinterest.com/pin/155303887492621040/)
In this technique, the entire artefact/sculpture is carved from a single piece of metal without the use of any joints or adhesives. Naturally, this art style requires high skill, a lot of time, commitment, and patience. The reliability of this technique was so great that Germans used it in the 1920s to build their armaments.
The sixty-year-old artisan takes pride in the skill that he has acquired by learning and observing his neighbour- a Rajasthan based traditional artisan. Ever since his discovery of interest in the subject in 1980, he has been making Lost Wax sculptures out of metal and became a licensed Sthapati for Lepakshi to design its Shiva, Ganapati, Lakshmi, and Saraswati idols.
During his prime time, he has contributed greatly to the industry by designing and crafting remarkable masterpieces for his clients and patrons of art.
Unfortunately, he was no exception to modernisation. As consumers preferred cheaper materials like plastic and resin, the demand for his work took a hit. Due to lack of awareness, consumers did not recognise the importance and value of traditional art which was pure skill and years of hard practice.
Dejected by the turn of events and lack of demand for his work, he gave up making art and instead pursued his career in teaching. However, despite years of being away from the arts and crafts industry, his love for the same has not vanished.
In fact, he still wishes to play a role in keeping the traditional art style of India alive for he strongly believes that this one-of-a-kind heritage must be celebrated and fondly remembered eternally.
As we made acquaintance with him through a social networking platform, we are more than happy to offer him a platform and the much-required reach so he can continue making art and inspiring young India through traditional art. He hopes to craft unique handicrafts and sculptures from metal like Krishna and Vasuki, Ram Darbar, or even the original paan box which was crafted through single casting and carved with great care. He also has some fresh ideas for everyday objects of use like a pen, stand, etc.
He argues that idols used in worship should be flawless and free of any defect. They must be crafted from a single piece of metal like the Shastras instruct us. He also states that two things matter the most when it comes to Madhuchista Vidhana- the skill of the artist and the casting technique itself.
We consider it as our pleasure to be helping a skilled artisan keep alive the traditional form of art and help him make an impact in the same. We believe that our past has incredible patience and that it waits silently for us to rediscover it.
India is a land that boasts of breathtaking landscapes ranging from the gigantic Himalayas to sparkling rivers, lush green lands, valleys, hilltops, and deserts. Owing to its beauty, many artists in India take inspiration from nature to make their art.
But is painting nature a fairly new practice? We believe not! In fact, man has been painting nature for as long as he existed.
This was the period of stone-age man. Humans then knew no language to communicate. Hence, their only form of communication was through sounds and pictorial depictions. Paintings found while exploring pre-historic caves revealed vivid sketches of bison, bears, elephants, humans, trees, and more. In India, one such interesting display of cave art can be found in the Bhimbetka caves of Madhya Pradesh. It has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
As the caveman kept evolving, colonies were formed. Agriculture slowly became crucial for survival alongside hunting. They depended heavily on rains and a good harvest. Animals were domesticated to help them in the process. Because of their dependence on nature, they began worshipping it. That translated into the art they make where trees, animals, mountains, rains, rivers, etc., were depicted. This type of art was mostly made on walls.
However, as time progressed and the civilization became more advanced, artists started carving the pillars of the temples and painting on pieces of cloth using natural colors made from conch shells, charcoal, minerals, and other stones.
Examples of this can still be found in old temples and caves such as the Ajanta-Ellora Caves, Puri Jagannath Temple, etc.
During this time and the periods that followed, many art forms emerged from different states of the country. Madhubani art of the Mithila region, Gond art of Madhya Pradesh, Warli art of Maharashtra, Pattachitra of Odisha, and Murals of Kerala are some such examples. While art was made to depict scenes from mythological scriptures, gods, and goddesses, nature still remained to be a recurring theme in most of these paintings. Moreover, the original art was painted on scrolls made of cloth and natural pigments were used for coloring.
It is said that this form of art originated in the Mithila region when King Janaka ordered the walls of the palace to be painted for Devi Sita’s wedding. It went on to become a source of livelihood for many women even today. Animals and birds such as elephants, peacocks, cows, trees such as tulsi, bamboo, mango, neem, etc., gods and goddesses, moon, sun, and stars are often depicted in these paintings.
This style of art has distinct characteristics owing to its stark motifs and white pigment over brick red walls. Made by the tribes of the North Sahyadri Range of Maharashtra, Warli paintings are often found on the walls of huts and homes there. They make use of circles, squares, and triangles, to represent the sun, moon, mountains, humans, animals, etc. They worship nature and the same is profound in the art they make.
Pattachitra style of art is native to the eastern state of Odisha. Patta means a piece of cloth and Chitra means a painting. As the name suggests, these paintings are made on pieces of cloth that have been prepared specifically for this purpose. Tradition methods use natural pigments and the scenes often depict instances from mythological stories alongside nature.
To this date, these styles of art are widely celebrated in the country as well as globally for their distinct style and characteristic. They provide a livelihood to many traditional artists that have passed on the skill from one generation to another. It is crucial that we keep the art alive for it is an undeniable part of Indian culture and heritage.
For past one year, the Corona virus pandemic has changed lives in more ways than one and as we were slowly coping from the trauma that 2020 caused, we have been hit by the second wave.
It is understandable that constant updates about rising cases, fear of being a victim to the virus, news about people losing their lives and the crashing economy; all while being isolated can get extremely overwhelming, in turn causing anxiety, stress, and more.
While the situation takes time to settle down and we must do all that is expected of us as citizens, we can always take a break from social media/news and unwind ourselves from the chaos that is outside. Doing this will not only improve our mental state but will also let us help those in need with more energy and a positive approach.
Art as a stressbuster:
Everyone has their own mechanism to cope with anxiety and stress. While some play music, others dance to the same. While some cook and bake, others like to watch their lovely plants grow!
Making art is proven to greatly relieve stress in many individuals. So much so that art therapy is an actual technique that psychologists use in certain cases to cure a trauma or help a patient overcome depression, anxiety, stress, and kind.
Here is what you can do:
Pick up a pencil and let it flow through an empty paper as your mind wants it to. Do not limit yourself to patterns or shapes, let the lines flow freely and sketch anything that comes to your mind.
Once you are satisfied with the sketch, pick up a brush, some colours, a cup of water and get colouring. This is usually the fun part! Let the colours flow as easily as your lines. Meaning, colour your drawing in absolutely any colour that pleases you. The point is to have fun! If you wish to, you can also write a small, positive quote or message on your painting once it dries and hang it on a wall to remind yourself to unwind often.
If you find yourself enjoying the process or making art in general, you can sign up for classes or learn from online resources to improve your skills and form a habit. You can also follow artists on social media to find inspiration and fall in love all over again with the amazing things a human mind can create. However, do not forget to have fun and stay positive!
It is the month of Phalgun and very soon markets will be bustling with colours and sweets for Holi shall be celebrated.
Holi is an Indian festival where people apply vibrant colours on one another and organise events to celebrate the same. This festival signifies the triumph of good over evil and is played in much grandeur and joy by people of all ages across the country.
Legend behind the festival
Centuries ago, there lived a ruthless ruler by the name Hiranyakashyapa. He had a boon that neither a man nor an animal can kill him, he cannot be harmed indoors or outdoors and neither during the day nor at night. Because of this boon, he became invincible. He thus, was known for his pride and valour but got very arrogant of the same.
He ordered that everyone in the three worlds shall pray only to him and he be declared the ultimate power.
But every evil has a source of end and his came in the form of his own son- Prahalad. He was a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu and despite his father’s many attempts and warnings, he continued to worship the Lord.
Hiranyakashyapa tried to push him off a cliff, locked him in a room of snakes, fed him poison, and got him trampled under the feet of elephants but by god’s grace, Prahald always emerged unharmed.
Frustrated and helpless, Hiranyakashyapa requested his sister, Holika to sit Prahald on her lap in fire and get him killed. Lord Vishnu protected the child and let Holika burn alive in the fire which started the tradition of Holika Dahan where people throw worn and old things into the Holi fire.
This event is celebrated as Holi where the evil is killed and the good is safe guarded. It also denotes letting go of old items and bringing freshness and joy into life.
After Holika’s death, when Hiranyakashyapa continued harming Prahalad, Lord Vishnu took the avatar of Narasimha Swami- half human, half lion and killed the evil king at the entrance of his house between day and night.
Another legend is that on this day Lord Krishna applied color on fair skinned Radha who was smitten by his dark color. This day is also called Rangpanchami for that reason and signifies union of love filled with color and vibrancy.
While Holi is now celebrated mostly for the joy of it, the essence of the festival to bring together people is still very much alive.
This festive season, team Artisanscrest wishes you to have a safe and sound Holi full of laughter, friendship, and joy.
The year 2020 has been difficult on almost all of us as we battled a global pandemic, climatic disasters, fall of economy, and more.
Many were left out of work and struggled for daily bread and butter while artisans faced a major set back as no idols were ordered or purchased during major festivals nor was artwork well commissioned.
It is, however, a matter of pride and celebration that in these unprecedented times, we did stand together as a community and helped our fellow humans and animals to the best of our capacity. It was heartwarming to watch people of a nation stand by each other and make it through tough times.
And, as we come to the end of this year, we are looking forward to entering 2021 with good cheer, hoping this year would be of good fortune and fruitful to all of us in more ways than one.
Let us welcome the new year with divine intervention by invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesha asking him to remove any obstacles on our way and always protect us.
Lord Ganesha is worshipped as Vignaharta, meaning Remover of Obstacles. Legend has it that once Lord Shiva and Devi Paravati put Lord Ganesha and his brother Lord Kartikeya to a test where the one who would circle all three worlds and return first would be declared the head of Ganas.
While Lord Kartikeya immediately set off on his peacock, Lord Ganesha dutifully folded his hands and circled his parents three times saying that for him, his parents were the world.
Moved by his devotion and pleased with his wisdom, Lord Shiva declared him the head of Ganas and blessed him saying that any auspicious event shall being by a performing a prayer to him for he shall ensure that the devotee does not face any hurdle on his way.
This is also the reason why many Hindu household place idols of Lord Ganesha in their homes- to ward off evil.This New Year order a beautiful idol of the Lord with us and have it carved to your specified needs and requirements.
India is one of the longest standing civilizations in the world. Ages of history, rise and fall of empires and wide cultural and regional diversity has given Indian some spectacular art forms making Indian art, craft and architecture one with a very rich heritage. Each time period and era introduced India to new styles of art and architecture all of which culminated to what we call today the “traditional Indian art”.
Let us study Indian art and architecture in a chronological order starting from caves to modern day contemporary art forms.
This period marks the beginning of mankind on earth and not much is known about this period owing to the lack of languages, scripts etc., at that time. Art was used as a form of communication to indicate directions, threats, pass on information and kind.
This is the time of cave paintings where gestural drawings were made on the walls of caves using readily available pigments such as stones, minerals, flowers etc.
In India, Bhimbetka caves exhibit such art from palaeolithic and mesolithic period. It is located in Madhya Pradesh and research suggests that they were used as shelters 100,000 years ago.
This is the period of Indus Valley Civilization. Around 2nd century B.C (called the Bronze age), artists developed a keen sense of observation and art was more a form of expression than means of communication.
Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro are significant settlements of that time and excavations at these sites in 1922 by R.D. Banerji revealed some exquisite sculptures, seals, vessels, terracotta crafts, jewellery, pottery, and more.
Statues were mostly made of stone and bronze and the art style had a sense of elusiveness to it.
Early Indian Art
Fast forward to 3rd century, Emperor Ashoka patronised art greatly in the subcontinent leading to Mauryan art. This period gave some of the most famous structures such as the Pataliputra capital, four lions which was originally called the Sarnath Lion Capital and is now the national emblem of India etc. He was greatly influenced by the teachings of Lord Buddha and spread Buddhism far and wide in India. Overtime, paintings are sculptures depicting Lord Buddha and his life began emerging in India. This was also the time when stupa structures were constructed in the country.
Sanchi, Sarnath, caves of Ajanta and Ellora, and Badami caves are examples of Buddhist art from 5th and 6th century A.D.
The caves feature realistic, relief stone carvings of Lord Buddha and other deities of Hinduism.
After this came many other art forms specific to kingdoms and dynasties such as the Shunga art, Kushan art, and Gupta art.
Circa 10th century A.D, Hinduism started influencing art and architecture in India. This was the period of Cholas which introduced Dravidian art to India.
Grand temples were constructed that featured exquisite and most detailed carvings of Hindu deities and tales from the epics on their walls, pillars, and more.
This period was also known for lost wax bronze sculptures and fresco paintings.
The trend was carried on by many other dynasties such as the Chodaganga, Tuluva etc.
Temples of Khajuraho, Konark sun temple, Puri Jagannath temple are examples of temple art and architecture of that time.
Around 15th century, India was invaded by the Mughals who set up the Delhi sultanate and began ruling over the country creating an era of art that was starkly different to what was seen until then.
Architecture was greatly patronized by the Mughal rulers and the construction was in Indo-Islamic style. The structures were heavily detailed, decorated with expensive jewels and made of materials like stone, rocks, marbles etc.
The art style was symmetric and took influence from Persian and Turkish styles.
Taj Mahal, Tomb of Humayun, Fathepur Sikri, Buland Darwaza, Sheesh Mahal are just some of the many exquisite structures that were constructed under the Mughal rule in India.
The Mughals ruled for approximately 4 centuries after which Britishers made way into the subcontinent through East India Company.
Traditional style of art began to be less recognized and patronaged and European styles introduced.
Many modern schools of art began emerging such as the Bombay Art Society, Madras school of art, and Calcutta school of art.
Art was now made on canvas or paper and mediums such as oils, water colours etc. were used.
This was also the time when regional sentiments rose among Indians and artists like Raja Ravi Verma, Abarindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, M.F. Hussain etc. started being recognized.
It is the festive season in India and the markets are sprawling vibrantly preparing to welcome the most awaited and beloved festival- Diwali. It is a 5-day long celebration and is commencing on 12th November this year with the main day falling on 14th.
It is said that on this day, Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana and it symbolises the victory of good over evil.
On Diwali, people also perform Lakshmi Puja and offer their devotion to the Goddess of Wealth.
As is evident, Diwali is one of the most significant festivals of Hindu religion and is celebrated grandly across the country.
Owing to the current pandemic situation, this year might however see a different Deepawali as compared to the previous ones.
Here is how you can enjoy the cheer while staying safe and protected.
Diwali is a festival of lights and as mentioned, it is associated with Goddess Lakshmi. Folklore has it that the deity only stays where there is cleanliness. Hence, every Diwali preparation starts with cleaning the house and discarding old and worn out items followed by decorating the place. Lamps are lit, series lights are hung and beautiful Rangolis are made to please the Goddess.
Which brings us to-
Remember those good old days when you and your siblings/cousins spent good time together designing and making Rangolis using the choicest of vibrant colours and making memories as you did so?
This is a wonderful opportunity to bring out the child in you and show-off your artistic skills!
What is a festival without exchanging gifts and goodies? Make a list of people who are near and dear to you and pick gifts and sweets for them. Tell them that in these difficult times, they are always in your thoughts and prayers.
So what if the pandemic is preventing people from physically coming together on a festive night? A lot of free applications are available on the internet so you can move the traditional “Diwali cards night” online!
Apart from the global outbreak of Coronavirus, this year also saw many natural disasters and casualties. It is about time we become sensitive to the damage we are doing to the planet which is resulting in alarming levels of rise in pollution and climate change. Let us not cause further harm and celebrate a crackers-free Diwali.
These are tough times for everyone and more so for people falling in low income groups who are struggling each day to win their bread and butter. While we are celebrating in full cheer, let us not leave them to suffer.
Purchase your décor items and diyas from street hawkers and local artisans. Donate to NGOs that work for their cause.
We at Artisanscrest provide a platform for traditional artists to showcase their works online.
You can find exquisite masterpieces on our website that can be customised to your needs. Be it a lamp, an idol, a painting, or a textile, we have it all.
Visit us at https://www.artisanscrest.in/
It is that time of the year when pandals are set up, idols of goddess durga are decorated, puja preparations are in full swing and we are all practicing dandiya and garba day and night. Normally this would have been the scenario but this year India shall see a rather dull dushera owing to Covid-19.
It is however for the greater good that we abide by the rules of social distancing and have a safe festival. That does not necessarily mean that we entirely miss out on the fun. Here are some ideas we have for you to celebrate Navaratri amid a global pandemic.
Set up your own pandal
Chances of society pandals being set up seem highly unlikely and even if they were to be erected, it is safer to not visit them.
How about bringing in an idol of the devi and designing a pandal for her at home? Some drapes, flowers, embellishments, and lots of creativity is all you will need.
Find exquisite idols and paintings of the goddess made by Indian artisans in our collection- The Invincible Shakti.
Donate to poor
There is no greater good and nothing fetches more satisfaction than tending to those in need. In times like these, it is necessary to help the poor families by doing our part- small or big.
Donate money to organisations that work for the cause, do not cut down the salaries of your housemaids. Instead, gift them fruits, sweets and clothes to make their festival joyous.
Garba at home
We cannot simply imagine Navaratri without Garba and Dandiya. We can’t attend one of those fancy events this year but we surely can dress up and groove to Falguni Pathak’s songs at home. Maybe even organize an event within your complex. However, ensure that no one is tested positive or shows symptoms of Corona. Also, ensure that you maintain proper social distancing.
Do not forget to upload your pictures on social media though.
Which brings us to
Checking up on your friends and family
We know this is not one of the brightest times to live in and the isolation can be challenging for many. Make sure you check up on your dear friends and family and share these ideas with them. You can also play a game or two of online ludo or cards to spend some time with them.
Support local artisans
Festivals like Navaratri and Ganesh Chaturti are the times when artisans work day and night to earn their bread and butter. Usually they would be busy making idols for us. This year is particularly challenging for them and other small sector workers. Show them your support by promoting their work, making a small or big purchase from them and paying them justly and by donating to organizations that look after them.
We at Artisanscrest take pride in promoting the work of local artisans of India who strive to keep the traditional art alive.Visit us at https://www.artisanscrest.in/
Following the Supreme Court’s verdict on Rama Janmabhoomi; Ayodhya saw grand celebrations on the occasion of bhumi pujan on 5th of August this year. Our honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji laid the foundation stone, officially inaugurating the construction of the mandir.
On this cheerful opportunity, let us reminisce about the life Lord Rama who is to this date considered one of the most ideal kings to have walked on this planet.
Lord Rama was born in Treta Yuga to King Dasharatha and Queen Kaushalya in the holy land of Ayodhya. He belonged to a clan called Suryavanshis- descendants of the sun god. Being the eldest of the siblings, he was destined to rule the throne of Ayodhya, and he set ideal principles for not just a king but also for mankind.
His life and journey are narrated by Sage Valmiki in Hinduism’s most revered epic- Ramayana.
We bring to you some unheard legends from the scripture.
The ten heads of Ravana
Despite his inhuman abduction of Devi Sita, King Ravana was not all bad. He was in fact a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva, a great scholar, and an able ruler. He underwent extreme penance to please the Lord- to an extent that he cut his head off with an axe. Every time he did that, the head would regrow. This continued for ten times until Lord Shiva, pleased with his dedication, granted him ten heads- a representation of the six shastras and four vedas that he mastered.
The incarnation of Lord Rama’s brothers
It is known that Lord Rama was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. However, did you know that his Sudharshan Chakra, Conch shell, and Shesh Naag also took birth along with him to accompany him in his purposeful journey?
They incarnated in the form of his brothers- Bharath (Sudharshan Chakra), Shatrughan (Conch-shell) and Lakshman (Shesh Naag).
Being the incarnation of the serpent is what gives Lakshmana his characteristic anger. He also took birth as Lord Krishna’s elder brother Balaram in Dwapara Yuga.
Abduction of Devi Sita
While Valmiki’s Ramayana narrates that Devi Sita was abducted by Ravana who carefully planned and executed it with the help of Mirich, it is however not very widely known that it was not the devi herself who was abducted but her shadow instead. Lord Rama had asked Agni Dev to look after her so he could ensue a battle with Ravana and kill him along with all his demons. This was also the reason why Lord Rama ordered for an Agni pariksha of the Devi. This was her way to come out of the fire and reunite with her shadow.
There are as many versions and legends to this great epic as one can dig.
With Corona positive cases skyrocketing, small-scale and large-scale businesses facing losses, jobs being affecting, and people losing their minds due to the isolation, we are undoubtedly living in difficult times. But on the brighter side, we are creating history for it is not every day that a pandemic halts the entire globe from functioning normally.
This iconic period sure deserved to be captured in many art forms. Ranging from drawing rainbows on windows to thank NHS workers to graffiti on walls and illustrations/graphics on social media, artists are doing their best to capture this event in art.
Hence, we could not help but wonder if the role of arts and crafts in this time goes beyond solidarity and gratitude.
Research proved that art is not only a form of expression but is also a very effective therapy/remedy for releasing stress and easing anxiety. The lockdown, isolation, boredom, financial pressure, news updates, etc., could be a lot to deal with.
What better way to spend your time with your loved ones and/or by yourself than to get those paints, papers, scissors, glue, and everything you can find and get down to making art.
We have listed a few ideas for you. Read on!
You can try your hand at traditional painting styles such as Warli, Madhubani, Tanjore paintings, Pattachitra, etc., for inspiration.
They have a sense of richness to them owing to their age’s long heritage.
While you are at it, teach your kid a thing or two about the history of the painting style. This will keep their interested, engaged while also helps keep the traditional art alive.
Pick one end of the rope and start rolling this to create a circular pattern. As you roll, make sure you apply generous quantities of glue so that it stays in place and the craft becomes rigid. Cut the other end of the rope and stick in it place for a smoother finish.
You can either color the craft or leave it as it is and use it as a coaster, wall hanging, etc. Get creative with your ideas.
Decide a theme, chalk a plan, and start having fun!
You can make some paintings, frame them, and hang them in your room. Spice up the space with some fairy lights.
Grab some old plastic bottles and paint them using acrylic colors. You can use them to place stationery, creeper plants, or just as showpieces, and they will instantly make the room look artsy.
Some amazing art channels like Iteeha, Kesh, and social media handles like Etsy India, and of course, Pinterest will help you boost your ever-expanding creative streak.
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