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Bamboo and Cane: Utility meets Art

From the rural plateaus of Madhya Pradesh emerges the exquisite Bamboo and Cane art work. The tribal communities of Gond, Baiga and Korku render such deft artisans that transform the abundantly available Bamboo and Cane (mainly in regions of Shahdol, Balaghat, Mandla and Seoni.)Into functional artefacts such as Agricultural implements, Fishing Traps, Baskets and many more such viable work.
One can find these harmonious amalgamations of age old technique and functionality in the towns of Shahdol, Balaghat, Mandla and Seoni.

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Carpets: Art That Will Sweep You off Your Feet

Ever since the Mughals bequeathed their carpet making skills to the artisans of Gwalior, these carpets have become the voice of the rural craftsmen. The immaculate weaves and the bright colours take you in on the astounding world of beautiful patterns and intricate designs that no art lover would dare to miss. This beautiful blend can be found in Gwalior, Shahdol and Mandla.

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Durries: Pamper Your Floors

The flat carpets woven with thick Cotton are cardinal accessories to a Central Indian household. These hail from the rural homes of Sironj, Jhabua, Rajgarh and Jabalpur manufactured by the nimble hands of the rural women. Available in an array of different motifs from Floral to Human these Durries appeal to the pragmatic appearance of a household.

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Folk Paintings: Heritage Oozing From the Fingertips

The Infamous Folk Paintings of Madhya Pradesh portray the Pre Historic times with all of its social and cultural idiosyncrasies. One finds a myriad of techniques moving from one region to the other. For example the Chiteras of Bundelkhand etch their artwork through their bare fingers whereas Mandana are exquisite wall and floor paintings prevalent in the Malwa, Nimar and Tanwargarh regions, and the Bhilala tribals paint Myths in their infamous Pithora paintings.
The Bundelkhand, Malwa and Nimar regions are home to this exclusive artwork.

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Metal craft: Beacon of Prosperity and Skill

The Unique Metal craft of Madhya Pradesh leaves a mark on every onlooker’s conscience. The skilled craftsmen seem to have put life in the deftly created artwork. Creative designs are curved into metals and shaped into figurines, ornamental boxes and decorative statuettes. Ornamental Boxes, Rice measure Bowls, Animal Figures and Pretty lamps constitute some of these.
Bundelkhand Region, Tikamgarh Districts, Rajgarh and Sarguja are major center for metal work in Madhya Pradesh.

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Ornament Craft: A Bond with Nature

Have you ever laid eyes on a tribal girl adorned with ornaments in Madhya Pradesh? Because if you have then you are familiar with the immense joy and the spirit of merriment it kindles in a person even if you aren’t the one who has been adorned with those gorgeous Beaded Necklaces, Huge ear Droplets, Blingy Nose rings along with Heavy Metallic Bangles in arms and feet. The ornaments are intricately designed and made out of sheer love for different textures and colours.
You can find these ornaments: a combination of ingenious artwork and natural raw material such as straw and wax in the regions of Tikamgarh, Sheopur-Kalan, Jhabua, and Malwa and Nimar.

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Paper Mache: From Scrap to Ingenuity

The Infamous Paper Mache craft form manifests itself from the cities of Ujjain, Gwalior, Bhopal and Ratlam of Madhya Pradesh. The Simple yet Fascinating art form dates back to the ancient times and brings to life dissimilar kinds of very well crafted birds with the artisans using natural colours and Mache to create immaculate replicas of living birds.

Ujjain (also known as Ujain, Ujjaini, Avanti, Avantikapuri, and Mahakal Nagri etc), Bhopal, Gwalior and Ratlam are famous for Paper Mache craft in Madhya Pradesh.

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Terracotta: Shades of baked earth

Away from the muddling of the modern civilization, the potteries modelled by the craftsmen of Bastar are striking and favoured by the stark contrast of simplicity and a realisation of the deep values of life by the rural folk. The splendid Terracotta works mark the very initial attempts of artisanship by the human civilization. These articles vary in colours and figures available in Pink, Brown, Red to Light and Dark Grey and the figures shaped into animals like elephants, birds, serpents and horses. Bundelkhand and Rajgarh are the famed regions for manufacturing of these ceramic crafts.

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Textile weaving and Printing : culture woven into threads

Madhya Pradesh has been a reigning manufacturer of Textile weaving ever since Seventh Century BC to Second Century BC. The rich culture of the state flows in its delicate yet royal variety of weaves like the celebrated Chanderi, Maheshwari and the Kosa Silk. The Chanderi is prominently woven in the Guna district, consists of intricately woven borders and fine motifs, The Maheshwari saris are woven in Maheshwar which lies on the banks of Narmada River and the beautiful weaves are mainly characterised by its simplicity weaved on Cotton and Silk fabrics. Tussar silk also known as Kosa silk are woven by the Devangan Community of Madhya Pradesh. The major weaving centres lie in Rajgarh and Champa districts of Madhya Pradesh.
If we talk about printing, Batik is a process in which the fabric is painted with molten wax and then dyed in cold dyes. You can also find dress material, bed sheets, lungis and duppattas in Madhya Pradesh apart from saris. There are numerous designs and colours available in Batik and they are famous for their contrast colour schemes. Bhairavgarh became the hub of Batik printing in Madhya Pradesh, when craftsmen from Gujarat and Rajasthan migrated here during the reign of the Mughals, around 400 years ago. Batik is done on a large scale in Indore and Bherongarh.
Another fascinating print is the traditional Hand Block Print or Bagh Print which derives its name from the place where it is manufactured, Bagh, Madhya Pradesh. Bagh uses natural colours and generally has attractive geometric and floral compositions and motifs.

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Zari work: grandeur of the heart of india

The capital city of Madhya Pradesh is not only famous for its rich legacy of Arts and Craft but also for its intricate craftsmanship of the Zari Work. The artisanship has been prevalent for over Three Hundred Years and inherits the same exquisite charm and grandeur of the glorious days of the emperors who proved to be the patrons of Art and Architecture in the region.

Apart from Bhopal the art is widely practised in Gwalior and Indore cities of Madhya Pradesh.

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Tie and Die: Ingrained Hues of Tradition

The art of tying and dyeing of fabric is known as Bandhani or Bandhej in Madhya Pradesh. This delicate technique represents the earliest forms of designing and patterning. Parts of the fabric are tied with thread or twined into minute knots and then dipped into dye. The popular motifs include the dotted pattern that is created by chains of grain on the body of the fabric with detailed designs on the borders. Birds, flowers, several shapes are popular motifs.

Mandsaur produces excellent Bandhej. Tarapur and Umedpura are the main centres whereas Bhairongarh near Ujjain is a smaller centre. Skilled craftsmen of Indore and Ujjain are also producing exquisite samples of Tie and dye. Pillya, a woman’s upper garment is made in the Bandhani style and is a specialty of Jawad.

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Stone Carving : Testimony of Masonic Brilliance

One of the oldest forms of art and crafts of Madhya Pradesh, meticulously done Stone carving can be prominently seen almost all throughout the state. Spectacular monuments in Gwalior and Orchha, erotic stone sculptures of Khajuraho and Vidisha’s rock-cut temples, every region of this state has got its distinct and unique style. The old structures prove the prevalence of stone carvings during the historical times. The region of Bastar creates memorial stone pillars as well as statues of gods and goddesses of the tribal communities. Jaal work is the specialty of Gwalior whereas; Jabalpur and Tikamgarh specialize in decorative pieces of work like human statues and animals.

Mandsaur produces excellent Bandhej. Tarapur and Umedpura are the main centres whereas Bhairongarh near Ujjain is a smaller centre. Skilled craftsmen of Indore and Ujjain are also producing exquisite samples of Tie and dye. Pillya, a woman’s upper garment is made in the Bandhani style and is a specialty of Jawad.

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Stuffed Toys : Dexterity Packed in Skin

The stuffed toys in Madhya Pradesh are skilfully crafted with much expertise and perfection. This art form is usually practiced in a hereditary way. These well crafted, leather made- wild horses, camels, tigers etc. can be easily found in the large emporiums in the state. You can find this form of art majorly prevalent in the commercial capital of the state, Indore. The expertise with which the craftsmen develop the leather finished toys, certainly deserves more recognition and appreciation.

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Jute Work: Tantalizing Fibres

The natural colour and course texture of Jute maintains its unique identity and charm .From decorative items like baskets, table mats, hanging lamps and flower vases to functional items such as hammocks, swings, purses and footwear; Jute solves all the purposes. As it is the second cheapest textile fibre, it is widely used for packaging agricultural and industrial products. Major jute work is prevalent in places like Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore and Raipur.

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Wood Craft: Glory Sculpted in Timber

The beautiful works of woodcraft can predominantly be noticed in various parts of Madhya Pradesh. The woodcrafts are utilitarian as well as used in architecture. It is a traditional art form of the state, as well as the entire nation. It truly exhibits a person’s ingenuity and efficiency when you see them transforming a simple log of wood into an extraordinary object of art. The intricately embellished wooden ceilings, doors and the meticulously carved motifs and patterns are worth noticing. This scrupulous craftsmanship indicates the rich traditional culture and heritage of the Heart of the nation!

Zahra Gulrez

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