The Living Crafts of India

Art history/ Historiography

The Living Crafts of India: Unbroken Continuities

Sethi, Ritu

Issue 1, Summer 2019                                                                           ISSN: 2581 - 9410 In today's India across villages, hamlets, tribal swathes and urban fringes, in the most unlikely of places, ancient craft and weaving technologies are practiced and preserved, sometimes tenuously, often transmitted orally from father to son, mother to daughter, guru to shishya. The anonymous nature of India's craftsperson's, their dexterity and skill, their use of indigenous and ecologically viable technology to imagine and create - to weave, smelt, mould, sculpt, engrave, paint, build and imagine spans a cultural landscape that has for many millennia been bound together and shaped by its history, mythology and legend. Ingeniously adapted to surrounding nature, attuned to abundance and scarcity, and connected with social and ritual demand.
The beginnings of India's craft traditions lie in the first known settled civilization of the sub-continent in the cities of the Indus Valley. This formed the blueprint for a continuous 5,000 year journey, formulating ways of thinking and seeing with closely defined links with the elements, a direction for the arts and a social structure that remains rooted till today. Over the course of history, waves of rulers and ruling empires, migrating peoples and craftsperson's, merchants who plied the inland and maritime trade routes, travelers and scholars, have provided an exchange point for material possessions, ideas, languages, customs an...
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