One of the oldest seats of learning in the world is here. So is the place where Buddha gained enlightenment. It is the cradle of two of
Every state in
Sikki is a common riverside reed found in abundance across the northern Gangetic plains. A plant of high tensile strength, people down the ages have creatively used it to mould items of daily use. The coarse reed is dried in the sun till it turns supple and glossy golden. Its strands are then secured into a rope which is coiled into various shapes, ranging from boxes, animals, pencil holders, planters, serving-bowl casings etc. The natural-hued products are further bedecked with colourful dyed strands that are woven into arresting geometrical patterns, converting ordinary grass into a piece of art.
Sujuni (or soojini)
This form of embroidery, which is simple running stitch, is currently making waves globally enthusing fashionistas and folk art collectors alike. Nowadays done on a single fabric and found on bedspreads, wall hangings cushion/bolster covers and also on apparel like saris, dupattas, stoles, jackets and skirts, traditionally women stitched together layers of muslin cloth and decorated it with motifs transforming it into a quilt or mat for home use. Similar in appearance to the kantha of
The Madhubani style of art is
If you are attending a Bihari marriage, notice the hands of the bride; they would be adorned with red or turmeric-coloured bangles that have been embellished with sequins and mirrors. Ritualistically worn for a year or forty days, these are made with lac, a resin found in the forests of the region. Lac bangle-making is a cottage industry that churns out conventional and myriad contemporary designs in a collection of colours. A pair can begin at Rs 20 and go up to Rs 1,000 for a set of 12. Another attractive range of items are painted woodenware varnished with lacquer and this includes toys, beds, stools, keychains, bowls etc besides a traditional wedding item called the kiya or sindoora, which is a lacquer-finished red wooden vermillion box shaped like a temple spire.
According to legend, the art of papier machie took root in
At handloom fairs the ‘
Originating in looms of Nalanda, the typical weave of an elephant or duck motif panel on red or lilac handspun cotton fabric, caught the fancy of people a few decades back and continues to reign. Also called BCI or Bihar Cottage Industry pattern it’s immensely popular as a chaadar or bedcover, curtain and tablecloth.
The blackish-green stone found in abundance around Bodh Gaya has lead to a stone carving industry. Figures of Lord Buddha and Ganesha have the highest demand among tourists besides which a host of tableware items like coasters, stem glasses, platters and decorative bric-a-brac in glossy finish grab eyeballs.
Every region has a terracotta tradition. In
Published in Jetwings, December 2008