Wood Carving of Uttar Pradesh

Architectural, Interior Crafts, Wood

Wood Carving of Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh is well-known for its wood work and there is a large variety of wood used here including sisam, sal and dudhi. The wood work done at Saharanpur has the typical perforated lacy work. For the big pieces small lattice frames are made and fitted together. The wood used here is a rich medium-brown shisham with deep grains. The wood carvers at Saharanpur have a natural skill for fine handwork and the fret work — jali, mehrab or archways motifs –and grapevine or the anguri work are similar to the stone design work of Agra. Brass, copper, ivory and plastic inlay work is also done here. Inlay work in Nagina is done on ebony wood.

Popularly known as the “sheesham wood village”, Saharanpur is home to some of India’s finest woodcarvers. The city is internationally famous for this craft and its artisans who have been creating magic for years. They “breathe life into dead trees” is how they like to put it. Intricate and fine workmanship are what makes these products unique. The vine-leaf patterns are a speciality of this region. Geometric and figurative carving is also done along with superb brass inlay work. Other materials like wrought iron, ceramics and glass are being combined with wood to give a new dimension to the craft and “contemporize” the traditional products.

A wide range of wood types is used to make products: sheesham for small items, teakwood for furniture and mango for antique objects. All of them go through the same basic steps:  slicing, carving, inlaying, sanding, polishing and assembling. Craftsmen specialize in one (or more) of these processes, and continue practicing what they are good at every day. As a result, each product is actually handcrafted by not one karigar but many. People in Saharanpur have always been working with wood. More than four lakh people are directly or indirectly involved in this craft, which still thrives on daily wages.

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