Crafts of Odisha

The eastern state of India, shelters a variety of tribe and their art and crafts. The state flaunts its artistic marvels along with the rich culture aligned with it. The crafts show the traditions being passed on from one generation to other. Let’s peep into some of them…

1. Dhokra

 The art style is practiced in the eastern states of India like Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, etc. It is a non-ferrous technique of casting metals using wax. The traces of the art form are found as old as 4000 years and uses a lost wax casting technique. The craft is the expertise of the Dhokra Damar tribe as they are famous metalsmiths who follow a long traditional technique to bring life to the craft using clay, wax, and brass metal as materials. The craft is used in the present day for making paintings, statues, etc.

2. Golden Grass and Cane Work

The craft which has its origins and variety in the north-eastern region of India also has an identity and home in Odisha. Around the regions of Puri and almost all over the state. The craft has continued for hundreds of years and with the changing times the product variety has also increased. Nowadays, even customised products are also available.  A village named Gopa in Odisha is famous for a variety of this craft known as ‘Moonj’ in which the baskets are made up of monsoon grass. The craft is mainly done by the women who stitch the grasses together to make beautiful products like ‘Kula’ and others and in the present even ornaments.

3. Palm Leaf Etching

This craft style is ancient of all present out there. This was practiced for a long time for documentation, narrating stories, and also for official writing works. The figures are drawn on the leaves using an iron pen. Once the etching is done then the highlighting is done using bean leaves, charcoal made of burnt coconut shells, til oil, and turmeric. Colours were not used in excess during old times but they are finding a place with time. These ‘Tala patras’ are stitched together in a book pattern so one can read and understand them properly. They narrate stories of Mahabharata, Ramayana, and other mythological stories. These are now presented as decorative pieces that connect us to an ancient heritage.

4. Horn Works

The ‘Horn Worksflourished in Odisha around the reign of Sri Krushna Chandra Gajapati Narayana, who was the king of Paralakhemundi and encouraged the craftsmen to pursue the style. The craft that was earlier used to make articles of daily use and even ornaments has shifted to ornaments and decorative pieces in recent times. The products may have changed but the process remains the same and the elegance is irreplaceable. The horn works were used to make simple products like combs and even combine with the filigree works to make ornaments. The craft shows the preciseness of the Odia craftsmen.

5. Tribal Jewellery

The state hosts a variety of tribes and each of them has a unique ornament style. The ‘Bonda’ tribe wear and make brass and aluminum rings piled over one another necklace. Another tribe named ‘Kondh’ prepare a three-ring structure for women and a two rings structure for men. They even have a scissor shape ornament to be used as a hairpin known as ‘sipna’. ‘Ahali Hara’ is a kind of necklace made up of coins tied to a string. Similarly, ‘Kiyu murmas’ are gold and silver ring kind ornaments worn as earrings. Apart from all these a tribe of Nabarangpur named ‘Gond’ were silver jewellery as bangles in which designs are made with spikes.

Various such crafts are found in Odisha, showing how deep-rooted and ancient its craftsmanship is.

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