Comprising of the unending colorful fabrics and weavers, the stone carvers and the temples, the art and the artisans, India is undoubtedly the richest country in terms of cultural heritage. And therefore, there are countless artefacts made by hands on a daily basis all over the country.
The craft activities are not conducted without any purpose, instead, they involve national pride, symbols of heritage, a source of beauty & identity, and sources of livelihood.
Talking about Jharkhand, the Indian state has a Cultural Mosaic which was dreamt about, shaped and polished by the generations of communities. This land has been inhabited since time immemorial where archaeologists have unearthed the pre-Harappan pottery, prehistoric cave paintings and rock art that hint at ancient cultured civilisations inhabiting these parts. The state of Jharkhand embraces 32 tribal groups of Gonds, Santhals, Bihors, Mundas, Banjaras, Asurs and many more who have been contributing towards the richness and diversity of the state since ages. And the arts and crafts form a significant part of the cultural lineage of Jharkhand.
Let's know more about the arts & crafts there.
The art of Jado or Jadopatia is being practised by the Santhals, where the artisans make scrolls with natural colors and links. These are used as visual aids in storytelling and are said to have healing and magical powers. The art has been blessed by Meenu Anand along with her sister Shikha Anand who has kept the art alive by painting on fabric. And if you want to witness these, the Surajkund Mela exhibits the sarees, dupatta and other materials made of silk with the beautiful Jado painting on it.
The craft done by using metal or brass is being popularly known as the Dhokra art in Jharkhand. It is carried out by the Malhore caste where the artisans make use of the 'lost wax technique' by using wax, resin, and firewood from the forests, clay from the riverbed and taking the help of firing oven in the hole dug to craft their artwork. The Surajkund Mela this year will offer you with the minute and finer version of the art that is also practised in the states of Orissa, Chattisgarh and West Bengal.
Ganju art is carried upon large murals with images of plants, animals and birds which also involve species of endangered animals in the form of a story tradition,
Other forms of art which can be observed in the Surajkund Mela 2017 involve Kohver art, Sohrai art, Turi art, Prajapati art, Rana art, Ghatwal art, Teli art, Kurmi art, Mundas art, Birhor and Bhuiya art, and the list goes on.
Metal-casting is carried out by the nomadic craftsmen called Malhores. They collect old brass scrap and make images of gods and goddesses. The other items involve anklets, diyas and bells which are worn by the tribals. These metal-smiths make tools as well as vessels for the artisans.
Asur Birja tribals, who are referred to as the oldest inhabitants of the area are engaged in blacksmithy in the Chhota Nagpur area. Obtaining the raw material from smelting ore taken from the hills, they give shape by hammering the sheet metal or ingot by heating or pouring it into clay or wax moulds.
Two distinct types of products which are framed in brassware and bell-metal are the cast pots and bowls. You will get to onlook the silver fish made by a goldsmith community concentrated at Haveli Kharagpur in Monghyr district.
The Jharkhand forests incorporate thin, flexible and strong bamboos. The artisans of Jharkhand produce numerous artefacts like baskets, fishing, and hunting equipment. The Bamboo Craft is carried out mainly by the Santhal, Ho, Gond, Pahadia tribals who know the efficient use of Bamboo. The region of Chota Nagpur plateau is thickly covered with the bamboo grooves and the local tribes are masters in making use of it to make cane products, exquisite baskets and other utility items. Where the bamboo and cane of this region have multiple uses, the furniture made of it is very classic.
The state of Jharkhand has an abundance of wood which now contributes in the production of creating various household requirements and wooden articles. Jharkhand along with Bihar is known for the ancient art of carving and practising inlay work with table tops, wall plaques, paper cutters and pens which are inlaid with metal or ivory.
The ancient art of cutting natural rocks or stones proceeds to the stone carving. These can be used as decorative items as well. The inout or the raw material varies with regions and availability. In Jharkhand, the stone carving is practised in Saraikela, Palamu, Ghatshila, Chandil, Dumka and few more. The stones are also carved into other items which involve moosal, sil-batta etc. You can find the entire state full of stone statues which were made long back.
Tribals wear jewelry made out of natural resources, bell-metal, and brass, especially bracelets and anklets. The Santhal women wear subtle earrings worked in filigree with various motifs. Even in the 21st century, the tribals used wild grass to form ornaments. The tribal jewelry mainly has motifs of leaves, flowers, and berries. Kardhani for wearing on the waist and chudha(bangles) are also formed for women.
Other forms of crafts include the Ledre Craft( torn and used cloth used for making beautiful creations), Mrin craft(pots made from soil), Mask Craft (Chhau Mask) and Instrumental Crafts.
You can witness and purchase all of these varieties of arts and crafts at the Surajkund Mela which is being held in the state of Jharkhand this year. The Surajkund Mela Authority is organizing it as a part of its yearly celebration. This year i.e. the year 2017 being the 31st edition of the Mela and Jharkhand has been chosen as the 'Theme State'. The event is going to take place between Feb 1 to 15 as a socio-corporate responsibility to bring about an uplift in the standards of cultural performers and poor artisans in the suburban areas.
THE SURPRISE: The partner nation of the event this year is the county Egypt and the 15 days Mela will provide you with mesmerizing cuisine, crafts and culture of the whole of India on a small plate.
Hurry up! Only 5 days are left.