INTRODUCTION TO INDIAN CRAFTS
centuries Indian arts and crafts have been distinguished for their
great aesthetic and functional value. In ancient times, the
conceptualized the intricate designs and patterns, which were
crafted painfully into the temples and the objects associated with
them. India has the widest variety of crafts anywhere in the world.
However diverse and intricate the range of craft forms produced by
Indian craftsmen, the root of the creative process has always been
the artisan tradition. It presents both the widest canvas of
creative activity and the broadest spectrum of development.
items that were patronized by the Mughal royalty show a remarkable
refinement of workmanship. In these crafts the designs were very
often influenced by the court paintings and miniature art derived
from Persian or indigenous sources. These designs are evident in the
Indian carpets, brocades, papier-mache, stone inlay and so on.
Historically speaking the discovery of the Indian arts and crafts by
the officers, surveyors and archaeologists of the East India Company
and the British Raj and their subsequent display at the India Museum
in East India House around the first half of the 19th century was a
remarkable event. Indian decorative arts were for the first time
carefully studied, collected and appraised with the result that not
only in England but also all over Europe, they influenced the public
taste and excited the sensibilities of the designers. The Great
Exhibition of London in 1851 showed for the first time in the West
several Indian decorative objects produced in various materials.
Several such exhibitions subsequently held in America, Australia and
parts of Europe opened the eyes of the western world to the quality,
beauty and sophistication of Indian designs, craftsmanship and
materials. The South Kensington Museum, London collected Indian arts
and crafts and utilised them for training designers and architects.
development was the use of Indian decorative motifs on colonial
buildings designed by architects such as Robert Chisholm towards the
end of l9th century. In 1904, George Watts and Percy Brown brought
together a major exhibition and catalogue of Arts and Crafts of
India at Delhi. Indian arts and crafts were thus systematically
documented and catalogued for the first time.