Paper mache – A glory of enchanting Kashmir! A story that needs to be told…

An epitome of native craftsmanship took shape in several humble homes amidst the very hearts of Kashmir several years ago. Born in Persia was this delicate and decorative art of Paper mache. This Persian art blended with the rich and exotic Indian art and soon became the folk art of Kashmir.
‘Papier Mache’ or Paper Mache is derived from French meaning ‘chewed paper’. This form of art is also a perfect example of eco-friendly and sustainable creativity. Waste paper is efficiently transformed into these exquisite masterpieces.
Mache is a mixture of paper pulp and an adhesive made from rice which are then moulded to form these beautiful jewellery boxes. Though the process is simple, yet it consumes a lot of time and human labour to reach perfection.
This art is normally cultured indigenously in the modest homes of these artisans and their refined skills are passed on from one generation to another.
There are several aspects to the design of a paper mache piece of art. First comes the creation of the mould – Sakhtsazi, followed by the next step Naqashi which essentially involves the intricate hand-painting of charming motifs. The designs represent various elements of nature like birds, flowers and often historical figures, hunting and battle scenes.
The colours used to paint the jewellery boxes are organic and vegetable based with high mineral content thus giving it an illuminated and dimensional feel. However, in the recent times, such colors are slowly being replaced by the modern-day poster colours and paints.
There are many designs and motifs that enhance the beauty of these artworks – each has been given a characteristic name. Like Irani Gulab which represent the design of a dense rose flower in the spread form with numerous florets. Jungle Tarah is an abstract representation of a jungle and its animals. Various court scenes are represented in Mughal Arts, inspired by Mughal Era.
After the painting is done, the process involves a final step – addition of a layer off varnish to give it a characteristic shine.
The beautiful people of Kashmir have been trying their best to hold on to their culture and art of Paper mache since years. But with gradual modernisation and globalisation, it’s honour has waned to considerable levels. People no longer want to carry forward such a legacy.
We – Deluxora – truly wish to preserve such a heritage art and craft and our effort fundamentally involves giving a boost to traditional handcrafted products through our gifting website.
Celebrate with us the rich cultures of incredible India!

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