About Orissa Handicrafts

Orissa, the land of enchanting beauty is well known for its exquisite beautiful handicrafts. Some of the crafts are centuries old and due to the reigns of many different rulers in the past, arts and crafts in Odissa underwent many changes giving an artistic diversity today in the forms of traditional handicrafts, painting and carving, dance and music. Cross-cultural influences in the religion and utilitarian trades have also produced a range of gorgeous crafts that add colour and creativity to life

Some of the Handicrafts produced in Orissa are

1.Dhokra Crafts:

  • Dhokra is a non–ferrous metal casting using the lost-wax casting technique. This sort of metal casting has been used in India for over 4,000 years and is still used. The product of dhokra artisans are in great demand in domestic and foreign markets because of primitive simplicity, enchanting folk motifs and forceful form. Dhokra horses, elephants, peacocks, owls, religious images, measuring bowls, and lamp caskets etc., are highly appreciated.
  • The process consists of developing a clay core which is roughly the shape of the final cast image. The clay core is then covered by a layer of wax composed of pure bee’s wax, resin from the tree Damara orientalis, and nut oil. The wax is then shaped and carved in all its finer details of design and decorations. It is then covered with layers of clay, which takes the negative form of the wax on the inside, thus becoming a mould for the metal that will be poured inside it. Drain ducts are left for the wax, which melts away when the clay is cooked. The wax is then replaced by the molten metal, often using brass scrap as basic raw material. The liquid metal poured in hardens between the core and the inner surface of the mould. The metal fills the mould and takes the same shape as the wax. The outer layer of clay is then chipped off and the metal icon is polished and finished as desired.
  • Dhokra Damar tribes are the traditional metalsmiths of West Bengal. Their technique of lost wax casting is named after their tribe, hence Dhokra metal casting This crafts form is practised in states like Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Westbengal and Orissa.

2. Stone Art:

  • Mute stones are transformed into living expression thru this art, the testimony of which is found on the walls of world famous Konark and Puri temples. The temple chariot of Sun God at Konark, Stupas of Ratnagiri and Udaygiri. The heavenly beauties playing on different musical instruments at Konark temple, the Konark wheel, horse, elephant, lion are some of the well-known monuments carved out through stone work in Orissa.
  • The craftsmen, who have carried the heritage through generations, continue the age old tradition even today. The stone carvers from Puri, Bhubneshwar and Lalitgiri today create imaginative objects for the modern world. 
  • Different types of stones like, marble, soapstone, sand stone are used by craftsmen in India. The tools the artisans use are few and simple and consists mainly of hammers and chisel of various shapes and sizes and with the help of these tools they create the life like statues on stone

3. Applique Art :

  • Applique’ refers to an art form of superimposing patches of colored fabrics on a piece of basic fabric/cloth to give it an altogether  new look. Though this form of art is not unknown in other parts of India, it is Orissa and especially in Pipli that the craft has a living and active tradition continuing over centuries
  • In applique work, cloth is cut in the shape of decorative motifs like leaves, birds, animals and geometrical shapes and then stitched on to another piece of cloth which forms the base material ideally in shape of square, rectangle, circle or oval.
  • This craft is also intricately associated with temple rituals (Especially for Lord Jagannath of Puri), used for making wall hangings of deities. Colourful, decorative handicrafts and utility items like handbags, bed sheets, wall hangings, purses, cushion covers, letter cases, pillow covers, canopies and garden umbrellasare also made

4. Pattachitra Paintings:

  • Pattachitra style of painting is one of the oldest and most popular art forms of Orissa. As the name indicates, Pattachitra is a picture (Chitra) painting done on canvas (patta), and is manifested by rich colourful application, creative motifs and designs, and portrayal of simple themes, mostly mythological in depiction. Their pictorial conceptions, their unique painting technique and line formations together with colour schemes make them a remarkably original art form that is distinct from any other school of painting either in or outside India.

  • The canvas is prepared by coating the clothe with a mixture of chalk and paste made from tamarind seeds.  The paste is then used to hold two pieces of cloth together and coated with a powder of soft clay stone to make it firm. It is then rubbed with the help of two different stones and then the cloth is dried. Once dry, it is then polished with a rough stone and then with a smooth stone or wood, giving the cloth's surface a leathery finish on which the artists paint with vegetable, earth and stone colours. The gum of the kaitha tree is the chief ingredient for making paints and is used as a base for making different pigments, on which diverse raw materials are mixed for diverse colours. Powdered conch shells, for instance, are used for making a white pigment, while lamp soot is used for a black pigment.

5. Silver Filigree:

  • Filigree is a delicate kind of silver jewellery metalwork made with tiny beads or twisted threads or both in combination, soldered together or to the surface of an object of the same metal and arranged in artistic motifs
  • In Filigree work, the articles have an intricate trellis-like network (referred to as 'jali' in the local parlance) made of twisted silver wire. The making of this silver wire is in itself a fascinating process. Pure silver ingots are put through a wire-drawing machine to produce very fine hair-like wires. Two of the thinnest wires are heated and wound around a 'charkha' and flattened again. These are then twisted together and crimped into zigzag patterns around the ribs of the design formed by thicker strips of silver, and expertly soldered. The motifs are usually leaves, flowers, creepers, animals and birds. 

  • Though this is an ancient art form with rich history from the greeks,  Some of the famous centres of filigree works in India are Cuttack in Orissa, Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh and Shrinagar in Kashmir

6. Wooden Carvings :

7. Lacquer Art:

8. Sand Art: