The handicrafts of Maharashtra are an important part of Maharashtra’s cultural heritage. The crafts of Maharashtra need excellent skill workmanship. It includes various patterns, forms, designs and much more. The state is home to many skilled artisans. They produce a variety of crafts using traditional techniques. The expertise of the artisans of Maharashtra can be seen in the fine art and craft finishes.
Warli paintings are mural paintings with a distinct visual language, and they are a kind of tribal art. These paintings are from the Warli tribe, who live in the Maharashtra-Gujarat borderlands’ hilly and coastal locations.
The Gond tribe is indigenous to the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. They are known for their vibrant and colourful Gond art. Intricate designs of flora and fauna define it.
The word Gond comes from ‘Kond’ which means green mountains and tribal people are called Gondis as they live mainly in the lush green mountains. The Gond tribe believes that seeing a good image brings lots of good luck to them. Hence Gond tribal paintings are made on various festivals, rituals, and ceremonies such as Diwali, Karva Chauth, Nag Panchami, birth, marriage, etc.
They are circular playing cards constructed of paper that has been coated with a tamarind seed powder and oil combination, then painted and lacquered. Darbari cards feature ornamental borders, while Bazaar cards do not. It was formerly a favourite hobby among Indian courtiers. The traditional Mughal ganjifa, with its 96 cards and 8 suits, found its way into the social milieu of India and the Deccan, where it eventually achieved universal appeal thanks to its themes and figures from Hindu mythology. The Dashavatar, which depicts Vishnu’s 10 incarnations, was the most popular. In Sawantwadi, Ganjifa cards were first presented. These cards and now hot favourite for gifiting.
Narayan Peth Sarees
Narayan Peth saris come from the Solapur District of Maharashtra. Characterized by broad borders and vibrant colours, the body of the sari has small motifs, in the shape of rudrakshas. Woven from cotton and silk, these saris have had a place in Maharashtra’s culture since 200 BCE
The Paithani sari originates from the area of Paithan, in Aurangabad District. This pure silk woven sari is distinctive for the heavy gold zari work on it, especially on the pallav. The saris have deep, rich colours, a heavy gold pallav with motifs such as flowers, fruits and birds such as peacocks, and small gold bootis (motifs) strewn all over the length of the material.
Satrangi, sataranji, and other striped flat weave dhurries are woven on frame looms in Maharashtra. Displaced mill workers from the Vidarbha region weave Chindi durries with the help and training of non-governmental organisations. Cotton dhurries are used as floor spreads for sitting or sleeping, as well as prayer mats with the prayer niche facing Mecca.
Made of leather, Kolhapuri chappals are famous for their characteristic rustic style and look, and durability. Earliest records of Kolhapuri chappals date back to the 13th century CE. These locally handmade, distinctive slippers are open-toed with a T-strap, and the leather is coloured with vegetable dyes.
The Lamani women of Banjara create symmetrical needlework by raising the fabric’s wrap thread with a small needle and creating triangles, diamonds, and lozenges parallel to the weft thread, giving the appearance of an additional weft weave. They are experts in creating borders for long skirts, which are an important feature of their traditional attire. Embroidery in yellow, green, red, off-white, and black is usually done over a base cloth of handwoven madder (red-colored cloth). The needlework also includes cowrie shells and tassels.
b) Kasuti: It was practised in sarees. Now it's not limited to sarees but different traditional wear and purses. The headquarters/origins for Kasuti embroidery are in Beed and Wardha districts.
c) Ari: The Ari embroidery of Maharastra has an international
market. The women in Nigeria drape themselves with high-quality cloth with ari embroidery. This type of embroidery contains ornamentation of tikris and beads on a wooden frame.
d) Mashru and Himroo: Originate from the Aurangabad District in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, and were once used to make clothes for nobles. Cotton and silk is woven together with the use of a special loom, resulting in a luxurious, distinctive feel.
Jewellery of Kolhapur
The majority of Maharashtra’s traditional jewellery is inspired by the styles worn by the Maratha and Peshwa kingdoms’ royals. Kolhapur is home to the most well-known of them. The Kolhapuri saaj is a necklace with 21 leaf-shaped pendants and golden beads. For married Maharashtrian women, this necklace is considered auspicious, and the majority of them wear it. The nath, a nose ring made of a gold string braided with pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, is another well-known adornment.
Silver objects, which were formerly an important element of Maharashtrian religious events, have now become a thriving industry. Hupri silversmiths who specialise in popular oxidised jewellery add meenakari and motifs based on the delicate shape of the pope tree, champak, babul, and aonla flowers, as well as the ambi (mango).
Bidri is a sophisticated and polished method that uses intricate inlay and enamelling sequences and is only found in India. It is based on the Persian technique of inlaying gold and silver on steel or copper. Casting, engraving, inlaying, and finishing are the four separate operations involved. Sand Casting is an important part of the bidriware production process. A kalam is used to chisel the desired pattern once the object has been produced and smoothed with sandpaper and blackened, and then strands of silver wire are hammered into these grooves. Small bits of silver and brass cut from sheets are jammed in if the design is carved into bigger patterns. The surface is given a black colour and made permanent by rubbing it with a combination of earth and ammonium chloride after it has been gently heated. The inlay is exposed when the surface is polished with oil. Bidri makes use of a rust-proof, non-corrosive metal alloy that is thought to have been invented in Bidar.
Sawantwadi is well-known for its mango-tree-made wooden toys. Despite the fact that the Chitari are the primary practitioners, other cultures have acquired the skill due to its commercial success. The toys are manufactured using a variety of techniques, including wood and lac turnery, flat-shaped component assembly, and solid wood sculpting. Mango wood is seasoned and chiselled into cylindrical forms, then finished on the outside.
The Thakur community’s bamboo artisans create baskets, fans, containers, and ghaghada (rain shield) that are treated to repel moths and assure longevity, making them popular among the people. Basket weaving is comparable to textile weaving in terms of technique. Shapes are created using a number of processes. Bamboo work is practised by tribal people in Raigad and Thane districts such as Thakur, Mahadev Koli, Kokna, and Warli.
Lacquerware Handicrafts of Maharashtra are produced in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.
A specific community, named “Chittorees”, indulged in the creation of lacquerware handicrafts. They are similar to the Sawantwadi crafts.
The government has taken several initiatives to preserve and promote handicrafts of Maharashtra. It has provided a conducive environment for artisans to produce their products. Also, provide technical and financial support to improve their skills and products.