Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hill Crafts of Derjeeling


Hill Crafts
Though Darjeeling is called the Queen of Hill Stations, it has other special attraction of its own -- the hill crafts. People of the hill have preserved a wealth of arts and crafts of which the forms, the designs, the motifs and even the techniques have peculiarity of their own. The famous painted thankas, colourful woven aprons & knitted garments, copper and brass utensils and wares of different shapes and forms with beautiful repouse work on them, exquisitely carved wooden trays and low table(Tokchi), carved wooden masks, decorative bamboo work with lacquered designes, different types of hill jewelry, Kalimpong handbags & patch work paintings are only a few amongst a host of enchanting and colourful products coming from the hills of Darjeeling.
The people of the hills have traditions of their own. Two distinct cultures – Indian and Tibetan have mingled together and forms a homogenous blending of these two distinct cultures, a new traditions in art & culture has originated, ofwhich the forms and motifs have been borrowed from Tibet, influenced by Tantric Cult, while the ethical background and ideas remain conspicuously Indian.
The peculiarity of these products lies in the fact that they still maintain the distinctive mark of the age-old tradition, untouched and unutlised by outside influence. The crafts persons of Deerjeeling mainly Bhutias & Nepalese in origin have zealously guarding their heritage through centuries of turmoil and upheavals in the plains.
The Tibetan refugees who come over to India have brought with them a tradition which are getting shapes in the self-help centres setup in Darjeeling. The products include wide range of Carpets, Tankas and other items. The stories depicted in the Tankas centre round the life og Goutam Buddha as described in Jatakas. These are used for decorative purpose in the Gumphas & Monastaries with the basic object rousing religious sense in those coming to offer Pujas.
About six thousands families are engaged in different crafts in the hill region.
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