This article was originally created for, and published on www.gounesco.com, a UNESCO supported umbrella of initiatives that makes heritage fun, written by Arundhati Bhande.

We belong to a society that is forgetting to appreciate the handicrafts that have been passed down to us over generations. Moreover, we are forgetting to appreciate the artists who keep the fire burning.  One such community of artists are the copper artisans from Pune, Maharashtra- the Tambat Ali Workers.

They are a community that settled in Pune around 400 years ago; the Peshwas being their first patrons. The community that was once the talk of the town has been sidelined with the advent of stainless steel and plastic utensils.

Aware of the fact that the pots they get a few hundred rupees for are being sold for thousands in the market, they have no option but to continue with their art, desperately hoping that none of the future generations have to suffer.

Meet the workers of Tambat Ali and get to know their everyday struggles.

1. “When I was younger, my foot and thighs would hurt a lot while hammering the design on the piece and using the foot for support. Now I have become used to it. I can keep my foot still for half an hour while I am finishing a piece, this ensures that the consistency is maintained.” Ganesh Karde was 18 when he started working with copper, it has been 25 years since.

 

2. “I have a degree in Bachelors of Commerce, the constant sound of hammering has affected my hearing, but this is the only job I can do the best. I wear gloves while working because I have clammy hands and the moisture may leave black marks on the copper.” Ajit Pimpale is from the third and the last generation of copper workers from his family.

 

3. “I don’t work after 5 PM because the light isn’t good enough, the bulb is of little help. Some of us still work after sundown but I can’t.”

 

This photo story has been created by Arundhati Bhande. She is among the 20 students a.k.a heritage enthusiasts from The Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication who participated in the Make Heritage Fun! event held on 26th March 2017, in Pune, India.


This article was originally created for, and published on www.gounesco.com, a UNESCO supported umbrella of initiatives that makes heritage fun, written by Hashid Sarfaraz.

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Ralli

The term Gypsies of a Lahore has come to describe people of different regions of Punjab/Pakistan and settled in the city Lahore with more opportunities for survival.

“Gypsies are known as Nomadic people”

In Lahore they almost live in every corner but the biggest community of gypsies are on the way of the famous Grand Trunk Road crossing Shahdara Bridge along the historically significant River Ravi.

Gypsies:

These people are

  • politically marginalized
  • largely alienated
  • deprived of the basic rights

Problems:

  • social rights
  • earning opportunities
  • illiterate
  • they have got at least 8-10 children

Bitter Reality:

  • begging is the main source of income
  • only two individuals have basic education among the Shahdara community
  • the more the kids, the more the earning hand

Occupation:(most of the families lives on the daily wages=labourers)

  • begging
  • drum beating
  • monkey show
  • selling balloons
  • selling fish, chicken, tortoise outside schools
  • clay toys

They are different from nomadic gypsy tribes who are constantly on move, never choosing to settle in any place, they instead do not travel to other parts of the country. they only leave when government launches an operation and forces them to leave.

They have strong roots in caste system. They mostly claim themselves to be Mughals, Sheikhs or Rajputs. Currently in Lahore they find their places to live in the following areas; Defense, Garden Town, Johar Town, Faisal Town, Model Town, Shahdara and Wafaqi Colony. They amount to about half a million within the 10 million population of Lahore itself. This means that every 19th person in the city is nomad and homeless.

Besides the plight of this community they are often found with these colourful patterns in the form of sheets or quilts commonly called the ‘Ralli’s’ which means bringing together various things and binding them hence the word ‘patchwork’ is used for this kind of work. Although all these communities are found with these patchworks but basically its the craft of ‘Sindh’ region in Pakistan, the craft involves the manipulation of the fabric in three most popular forms i.e combining patchwork, appliqué and embroidery to make up these quilts.

True, original rallis are made by hand, stitch by stitch using only fabric, threads and scissors. The ralli patterns closely resembles the ‘painted pottery of Indus Valley’region from over 3000 years ago.

The most fascinating fact about the manufacturing of this product is that the women making it do not have any kind of design being written down or laid out before them, its just in the form of a mental portfolio in the memories if these women.

Special quilts are often followed by a complete fabric at the back. Quilting is especially festive when the quilt is for a marriage and the sewing is accompanied by singing and stories shared by the ladies among each other. There are legends, folk songs and sayings about ralli. Wealth if a family in the region is determines by the number of rallis they own.

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These rallis are used for sleeping, the old ones are employed as padding for animals, square rallis are used to cover the floor and then food is served above the piece, food mats, very special rallis are made for dowry or wedding gifts as well as a gift to a local ‘holy man’.

Special rallis are embellished with mirrors, sequins, beads, tassels made from silk or yarn and shells. These quilts are made and assembled by women who have been taught textiles from childhood, girls start quilting at the age of 12, which not only sharpens their mind but also let them memorize patterns easily. This skill helps the women find a good partner in terms of marriage as a perk for their special skill.

Recycling: Traditionally rallis were made from recycled and hand dyed cotton cloth. They collect rags from  homes and also asked their neighbors for old clothes and rags. The production of ralli can be found in Sindh in Umerkot and Tharparkot.

The making of ralli in different color schemes, patterns, designs, typology of making varies as we move from lower Sindh to Upper Sindh where lower part involves intricate quilts in black/white, red/yellow, black/white and red/yellow color schemes.

Middle Sindh is followed by many variations in the ralli designs with color schemes that includes white, black, red, yellow, orange, green, blue and purple.

Upper Sindh, famous for intricate blocks of appliqué and sometimes embroidery, multiple borders, tassels in the corner or the entire quilt.

Sindh(Northern), these rallis have very distinct features. I the area of Rahim Yar Khan, rallis consisted of q path blocks with very fine appliqué block, square borders or mix patchwork and appliqué and the use of muted tones/colors.


This article was originally created for, and published on www.gounesco.com, a UNESCO supported umbrella of initiatives that makes heritage fun.
By Rubina

Folk arts have existed for centuries as a simple productional form, and have become more and more complicated with time. 

Take the example of Belarus, where the wooden filigree technique was found at the end of the xxxx century. This historical craft is all about modifying old objects in the form of pottery, glass and textile productions with interesting and unique artistic attitudes. 

A plate decorated in the technic of Sozh skan’ (filigree) [1]

These productions, mostly small-scale, are based on wide use of hand tools and personal skills of craft workers to ensure high quality. Take the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius monastery in Sergiev Posad town of Russia, which had Amvorsij, a talented monk in the 15th century, who was an outstanding carver and jeweler of his time.

Wooden swarfs [5]

The monk created an icon, which was decorated with wooden chips which became a prominent masterpiece of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. It is located at the Museum of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius in Russia. 

Icon of St. Nicolas with a frame in Sozh filigree technic

The unique religious artwork was discovered by noted Belarusian artist Vladimir Tsekunov who brought this craft back to life in the 1990s, and founded a school in the technique. The art craft is a complicated combination of wooden chips for decoration and creation of unique artistic works. Tsekunov created a special machine with tweezers for wood shavings, which are need for a working process. 

In addition, the master and all his students do not use any additional paints. All works have natural wooden colors without any additional chemical elements. The colors are different because the masters use different types of wood, which give different shades and colors during the process. The width of a wooden chip is no more than a millimeter , and are fixed with liquid glue.  A matte vanish is then applied to the artwork emphasize the beauty of the wood, where a microscope gives sometimes only an opportunity to see the smallest parts of compositional details of this ” timber mosaic”.

Vladimir Tsekunov

There are a limited number of specialists, who work in this technique, such as Sergey Podolnitsky, Michael Shumsky, Eugene Shvetsov and Sergey Kuzmenkon whowork as filigree masters in their own unique styles.

This art, such as the Icon of St. Maria’s heart, a present to Pope Francis the sixth is a unique masterpiece, which cannot be recreated again. Some of these masterpieces are jewelry boxes, panels, and even icons and were given as presents abroad to many famous personalities, such as Queen Elizabeth II, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis and others.

Icon of St. Maria’s heart, the present from the president of Belarus to Pope Francis [6]

Sources:

1) http://www.artfolk.by/shumskiy-mihail.html

2) http://www.ctv.by/sozhskaya-skan-unikalnaya-tehnika-vyshivki-derevyannoy-struzhkoy

3) V.V. Tsekunov 1st and 2nd part of film [online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nz8IUHYhZ4g]

4) http://tsekunov.narod.ru/photoalbum.html

5)http://www.liveinternet.ru/tags/%D1%EA%E0%ED%FC+%22%D6%E5%EA%F3%ED%EE%E2%EA%E0%22/

6) http://sputnik.by/religion/20151023/1018034209.html


This article was originally created for, and published on www.gounesco.com, a UNESCO supported umbrella of initiatives that makes heritage fun.
By Rubina

The old city of Hyderabad has a grand history of over 800 years. It is famously known world-wide, for housing ‘The Charminar’ and its Char-Kaman. But what is not known about the old city is that it also housed numerous palatial residences of the nobles called ‘Devdis’. These Devdis were the places where the Hyderabadi tehzeeb (lifestyle) evolved and are thus culturally, socially and historically significant. Contrary to the grandeur these Devdis witnessed in their days of glory, today most of them have been mowed down and the few surviving are in a state of neglect.
In the 18th and 19th century, the aristocrats and affluent lived in these traditional fortified devdis. They had 3 exceptional features, the main entrance or the gateway, high enclosed walls and inner courtyards. Security was perhaps the highest priority and the devdis used to be heavily guarded. They were like mini fortresses which were also equipped to provide shelter, security and resources during troubled times to the noble and his clan, which included extended family as well as the servants.

Entrance of the Khursheed Jah devdi/ Courtesy: Saurabh Chatterjee; siaphotography.in/blog/khursheed-jah-devdi-baradari/

As time went by, the nobles started building larger and more impressive devdis as a statement of their wealth, power and influence. The structure of a devdi evolved around series of courtyards with sundry structures radiating out of the courtyard. Except for the Hindu devdis, all had segregated living quarters for men and women. They also accommodated public enclosures like the office of the noble besides the private living quarters.

Some interesting features of the devdis include the main gate that happened to be high enough to let an elephant pass through and the upper floor of these entrances and accommodated space for traditional music to be played during ceremonial occasions.
Inside the devdi, the interiors of the open pillared halls, where the nobles entertained the guests were heavily decorated with wooden or painted ceilings, multi-foliated arches, stone or wooden pillars, stucco work and wooden carvings. They were furnished with velvet carpets embroidered with gold and silver. Chandeliers, both hanging and standing, were customary.

Paigah Palace now used as a function hall/ Courtesy: paigahpalace.com/gallery.php

Numerous European travellers have left accounts of these beautiful devdis. Be it the language, literature, music, dance, etiquette, courtesy, entertainment, cuisine or dress, it was in the devdis, that this Hyderabadi tehzeeb was nurtured right from childhood.

But the partition of India in 1947 and the abolition of the princely state left the nobles debt ridden, without their traditional income. They had to sell their property and one by one the sprawling devdis were demolished. Today only a few of the devdis survive, most of them isolated, crying for attention. A few others, house schools or function halls. Around the city, a couple of gateways stand freely without their walls. These were once entrances to the magnificent devdis. Now cramped with new concrete constructions all around them, the remnants of these devdis even in their state of decay are beautiful and have their own story to tell.

Standing in the midst of the ruins of these devdis, one can try to visualize the structure during its heyday and be transported to an altogether different era. Imagine the hustle and bustle of the household full of life, servants running around, social gatherings taking place, live music being played, food being served and fountains sprinkling.

Asman jah devdi in an utter state of neglect Courtesy: Madhu Gopalan http://fourtowers.blogspot.in/2010/09/asman-jah-devdi.html

Earlier I had passed through these places numerous times, ignorant of their history and wondering why these structures were still standing. Years later, today, I crave to visit them and its heart-breaking to see a piece of them fall apart every time I do so. These devdis are a part of who we are today. They have helped form and develop the lifestyle and culture of every Hyderabadi. What has happened cannot be reversed, but  I feel telling their story is important as ignorance leads to neglect. One can only connect to the bygone era and its heritage, if the stories of these wonderful structures are told. And I for one, have tried to make an attempt at it.


This article was originally created for, and published on www.gounesco.com, a UNESCO supported umbrella of initiatives that makes heritage fun.
By Somok Roy

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Bhaskar Chitrakar painting a traditional theme. Photo credit: Somok Roy Heritage

Characterized by fluid curves and flat bright colours, Kalighat painting occupies an important place in the history of Indian art. It was the urban and reformed version of the Midnapore school of Patachitra, a scroll painting tradition of Bengal.  Liberating itself from the confines of religious narratives, it went on to comment on the contemporary socio-political phenomena. The rustic folk simplicity was replaced by the emerging complexities of city life.

In the early 19th Century, rural patuas (the community of Patachitra painters traditionally carried the surnames ‘Patua’ and ‘Chitrakar’) from Midnapore migrated and settled around the Kalighat temple, on the banks of Adi Ganga. Kalighat being a major pilgrimage center attracted thousands of devotees round the year.

The devotees wanted to carry something as souvenirs on their way back from this sacred place, and the locally available, cheap paper painting was the only affordable option. In the memoirs and travelogues of the European travelers, these paintings have been called ‘Bazaar paintings,’ a description that carries a sense of inferiority when compared with the Occidental standards of art.

This is primarily because the painters lacked the sense of perspective, and the linear rhythm of human figures miserably failed to impress the lovers of realism. Kalighat painters faced draconian competition from the ever-expanding market of lithographs and cheap oleographs and gradually disappeared by the 1930s.

The Midnapore roots

The medium of scroll painting has a vibrant history in this part of the continent. In an age when the society and economy were primarily agrarian, bards toured from village to village with their painted scrolls, unfolding the world of Puranic epics and folk myths to the curious audience.

These demonstrations were accompanied by narrative songs. The Cherial paintings of Andhra Pradesh, Phadpaintings of Rajasthan, and Patachitras of Bengal and Orissa are part of this vivid and arresting storytelling tradition. Patuas of Midnapore used scrolls known as ‘jorano pat,’ which were executed on cloth and could be rolled easily.

There were divisions within the patua community on the basis of the duration of tours. The ‘Duari patuas’ travelled from door to door throughout the day in nearby villages and returned home by night. The ‘Doori patuas’ travelled long distances, exhibiting their works and narrating stories.  The themes were from folk literature. Episodes from the ‘Mangal kavyas,’ creation myths, magic and cult-rituals, agrarian lives, pantheistic practices such as ‘pahar puja,’ and Hindu epics were painted and sung.

Changing times- Stylised Midnapore paintings, quite different from the traditional style. (Unfolding a Painted World: Revisiting Kalighat Paintings)

Changing times- Stylised Midnapore paintings, quite different from the traditional style.

From Midnapore to the Mecca of arts

Initially, the Kalighat school produced images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, keeping in mind the target audience. The rolling scrolls were replaced by rectangular sheets. Cheap mill made paper was used for painting, but the painters retained the tradition of using natural colours.

The outlines were painted in black using lampblack, which was later filled in with bright flat colours. Turmeric was used for yellow, red chilies for red, indigo for blue and so on… The paintings acquired a semi-classical finesse due to the application of colloidal tin for the purpose of depicting jewellery.

Secular themes entered the painters’ world soon and Kalighat school emerged as a satirical genre, highlighting the inherent hypocrisy of the society. Their detailed observation of an evolving social class helped them to produce symbolisms in art, which could be interpreted as important sources of modern Indian history.

The flamboyant Bengali nouveau riche or the urban elite has been the favorite theme of the Kalighat painters for their ostentatious display and extravagant lifestyle. These paintings unveil the pretentious mannerisms of the nouveau riche by the use of subtle metaphors and visual allegories, which have become an integral part of the Kalighat iconography over time.

Kalighat painting is perhaps one of the best primary sources to reconstruct the social history of the19th Century ‘Babu culture’ which flourished in Calcutta. ‘Babu indulging in sensuous pleasures with courtesans’, ‘Babu sitting on a chair and piping the hookah,’ ‘cat with the marks of a saint eating fish,’ ‘horse-race,’ ‘Elokeshi-Mohanto crime case’ were some popular themes.

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Babu with a concubine. Photo credit: banglapedia.org

The painting of a young attractive lady sitting in voluptuous posture with her right hand raised above her head, holding a rose in each hand, titled ‘Golapsundari’ is an evidence of the eternal fact that the essence of Indian aesthetics flows down the ages evermore.

Gopalsundari, or the 'rose beauty'. Photo credit: Nibaran Chandra Ghosh/banglapedia.org Drawing Woman with roses; Kalighat painting by Nibaran Chandra Ghosh of a seated courtesan with roses. Calcutta, ca. 1900. Nibaran Chandra Ghosh Calcutta Ca. 1900 Watercolour on paper

Gopalsundari, or the ‘rose beauty’. Photo credit: banglapedia.org

Similar ‘nayikas’ have been painted earlier by miniature painters of North India. The patuas also painted nationalist heroes like Rani Lakshmi Bai, and scenes from everyday life.

The Ultimate Autumn

The legendary painter, art critic and scholar, Mukul Dey, who collected some priceless works of the Kalighat school ( a major part of it was acquired by art historian W.G Archer during 1930s, and many of these paintings are exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London) wrote in 1932 :

These pictures have now entirely vanished. The artist craftsmen are nearly all dead, and their children have taken up other business. In the place of these hand-drawn and hand-painted pictures selling at two or four pice each, garish and evil-smelling lithographs and oleographs – quite appalling in their hideousness – have come. The old art is gone forever – the pictures are now finding their last asylum in museums and art collections as things of beauty which we cannot let die.

Kalighat paintings

A contemporary take on traditional icons. Photo credit: Somok Roy Heritage

One of the last practitioners of this art to have received international recognition and critical acclaim is Kalam Patua. He reinvented the Kalighat style by painting contemporary themes and yet retaining the stylized pattern of the traditional works. His paintings are housed in galleries and museums such as the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, The Museum of Sacred Art, Belgium, etc..

The alleys and by-lanes of Kalighat buzz with life from the dawn-break. But practically none of the residents and shop-owners are aware of the rich painting tradition which once flourished here. I accidentally met the only custodian of this great tradition, residing in the vicinity of the temple, Bhaskar Chitrakar, who is arduously trying to revive the art form. His unflagging efforts do not seek beneficial opportunities, but the admiration and appreciation of a true ‘rasik’.


Image 1: the canal harbor of Terracina, photo by Latina Corriere

The canal harbor of Terracina? Photo credit: Latina Corriere

It is no mystery that in today’s consuming society, the act of repairing is becoming a forgotten activity: if something breaks, we replace it.

My grandfather used to say, “We used to build things to make them last as long as possible in my day; today, everything is made for a maximum of two or three years of use.”

And he is right: I can’t remember of something that lasted longer than three years, be it cellphones, appliances, cars, computers, clothing or tools.

So I asked myself: is it the same for traditional craftsmanship and skills?

How do they fit in a society where people do not repair things any longer?

My reflection started when I was walking near the banks of the canal in Terracina, my beloved hometown. The said canal is no longer in use as a transportation link; but is mostly used as a ‘parking’ for small boats and shapes the connection between the areas of the town with modern facilities, and the harbour area.

 

Abandoned-nets

Abandoned storage spaces. Photo credit: Giulia Falovo

In the historic harbour area of ‘la Marina’ (the maritime), the city is split in two: one side has a vibrant nightlife with restaurants, bars and clubs, while the other side has remains of old structures related to the harbor life — storage spaces, canal banks, fishermen’s shops, and a vast area where the repairing material for boats is stored, like the memory of an abandoned past.

Another abandoned space. Photo credit: Guilia

Abandoned nets in the harbour area. Photo credit: Guilia Falovo

For some, the canal banks work as a point of aggregation, where to observe the daily unrolling of the city life, while being connected to its past.

One one can found groups of retired fishermen Enjoying the view while taking advantage of the warm Italian October; selling fish, gossiping or (what attracted me there) repairing nets.

Nets are an important component of a fisherman’s activity: There could be as many as 80 different types, according to the shape, use and type of fish, and they can go up to hundreds of meters. Before mass industrialization, fishing nets were normally made up by the fishermen or their wives.

Fishing nets require constant care and maintenance; so, when I observed Arturo repairing a net in a storage space nearby the harbor, I couldn’t pass up the chance to interview him.

Arturo at work.

Arturo repairs his nets. Photo credit: Sara Ceci

Arturo is a retired fishermen who just can’t put aside the need to work. Fishing has been the way of life for him for over 40 years, he has passed the baton to his son.

“I was lucky that my son wanted to continue the family tradition,” he says. “Not many youths want this profession these days. Everyone is moving to bigger cities so this sector is slowly dying.”

The pride shines through his eyes when he talks to me about his son. He says he is trying to teach him how to repair the nets, alegit with poor results. “He doesn’t like to work in his free time: he prefers to go out with his friends,” he rues.

Fishing nets require high standards of care and maintenance, and not many are willing to learn. But when an undeterred Arturo sits by his storage room, repairing the nets of his boats, a lot of people to observe this priceless craftsmanship.

Arturo doesn’t produce any art, tool, or gastronomic masterpiece. But he is one of the custodians of a timeless activity that has contributed to enrich the city as we see it today.


This article was originally created for, and published on www.gounesco.com, a UNESCO supported umbrella of initiatives that makes heritage fun.
By Meera Menon

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Tripunithura/Tripunitura, a land of temples, has its center marked with the Poornathrayeesa Temple with its history dating almost 10 decades back. This is supposed to be the only temple in South India where one gets to view the ‘Poornatrayeesa’ form of lord Vishnu.

Virschikotsavam is the grand eight-day long festival celebrated in this temple. It is set during the end of November, and this year it will be starting from 28/11, Monday onwards. The most striking part of this festival, or the highlight as we may put it, is the royal procession of 15 elephants, ‘The Ezhunnallippu,’ with the figurine of the deity held on top of the center elephant.
Yet another attraction is the “pancharimelam,” which is a traditional temple art form accompanying the procession, with instruments like Chenda, Kombu, Elathaalam etc.
Even though the procession is done every day, the fourth day, known as the triketta purapadu, is quite special. It was on this day, that we believe,  Vilwamangalam Swamiyar (considered to be a great saint in our history) made his visit. It is said that he found Lord Vishnu in the form of infant Krishna who was playing along with the elephants for the procession. On this day, offerings are made in a golden pot kept in front of the deity. This is believed to bring good luck to the people.
There is yet another story regarding the deity of Poornathayeesa here. It is said that the deity is afraid of firecrackers, which is why there are no ‘Vedi vazhipadu’ or crackers being used!


This article was originally created for, and published on www.gounesco.com, a UNESCO supported umbrella of initiatives that makes heritage fun.
By Roshini Murlidhara

The origin of the city of Bangalore occurred as a trade centre. Kempegowda, the visionary founder of the city, established the Bangalore Pete(city) area in 1537.A.D around the mud fort.He invited traders from across the country to establish their business and make Bangalore a successful trading post.

Kempegowda’s dream took shape in the form of an oval shaped Pete area with two main streets, the Chikkapete street running east-west and the Doddapete street running north-south.The intersection of these two streets was called the Doddapete Square(now Avenue road).Four gates were erected at the four cardinal points namely Halasoor(east),Sondekoppa(west),Yelahanka(north) and Anekal(south).In order to organize the functioning of the various traders, Kempegowda came up with an ingenious idea of forming several layouts,each catering to a certain trade or profession.For example, Doddapete(Dodda means big) was for big business establishments ,Chikkapete(Chikka means small) was for small business establishments, Akkipete(Akki means rice) was for rice traders, Ragipete(Ragi means red millet) was for ragi traders,balepete (bale means bangles) was for bangle traders, Ganigarapete was for oil traders, Nagarthapete was for Gold traders, Gollarpete was for cowherds & cattle traders, Kurubarapete was for sheep traders, Thigalarapete was for farmers of Tigala community, Upparapete (Uppu means salt) was for salt traders, Aralepete (now Cottonpete) for cotton traders, Kumbarapete for pot traders and many more such petes.

bangalore heritage market An artist's impression of the pete area

An artist’s impression of the pete area (www.google.com)

The Pete area initially evolved as a pedestrian precinct with the public spaces growing into bazaar streets, temple squares and open grounds and even till today it continues to be a pedestrian bazaar with a deep network of crowded streets with a cross-cultural identity,social history and economic geography.Though the Pete area has a longer history than the British cantonment,after its establishment in 1809,the Pete area lost its importance because of the better facilities such as wider roads and drainage systems in the cantonment area and the city was divided into the old town(Pete area) and the new town(cantonment area).

bangalore heritage market the pete area today

The pete area today

The British, after consolidating their rule in Bangalore, felt the need for a market that catered to the growing population and its needs. T B Russell ,the then municipal commissioner, initiated the construction of Russell market in 1927, which is now  a landmark market in Bangalore.He wanted to ensure that the cantonment area had a market area with the necessary supplies of meat, flowers, fruits and vegetables under one roof. The market place with brickwork of lime and mortar, roofing with corrugated aluminium sheets supported by steel girders was constructed in Indo-Sarcenic style using features of bulbous domes capped with Gothic spires from Hindu architecture and scalloped arches from Islamic architecture.

bangalore heritage market An old picture of russel market

An old picture of russel market

bangalore heritage market The russell market of today

The russell market of today

In the lines of Russell market,the Krishna Rajendra market(K.R.Market or City market) was established in 1928 in an area which acted as a buffer zone(earlier a battlefield) between the native town and the fort area.There used to be an extensive platform known as Siddikatte where vendors from the nearby village sold their produce and this area soon developed into a huge market place.

bangalore heritage market The KR market of now

The KR market of now

Another such market that came into existence was the Johnson market at Richmond road in 1929.It was often referred to as Russell market’s poor cousin.It was formerly called as Richmond town market as it catered to that locality and was renamed after a British civil servant.The land on which the market sits belonged to Aga Ali Asker, a rich businessman from Persia, who is said to have donated the plot for the market.Apart from being a trading centre, this market also boosts of some exotic eateries like Makkah café famous  for tea, Fanoos and Madeena stores famous for samosas.

bangalore heritage market An old picture of Johnson market

An old picture of Johnson market

bangalore heritage market the Johnson market today

The Johnson market today

Another example of such market is the Murphy town market which is one of the premium meat selling markets in Bangalore.Formerly called as Knoxpet, this area was renamed as Murphy town in honour of the engineer W.H.Murphy who improved the sanitary conditions of the area by establishing underground drainage systems.

bangalore heritage market The Murphy town market now

The Murphy town market now

These markets have been an integral part of the city’s history and even though the city has developed into an urban metropolitan, these markets have stood the test of time and today are architectural marvels of their kind.These structures are one of the few recognised heritage sites within the city and are also bangaloreans favourite choice when it comes to shopping..!!


This article was originally created for, and published on www.gounesco.com, a UNESCO supported umbrella of initiatives that makes heritage fun.
By Ayesha Ibrahim
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A selection of traditional Baluchi dresses. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Pakistan is home to many amazing handiworks but the Balochi embroidery deserves a special mention. According to different sources the Balochi embroidery is regarded as an ancient handicraft that passes from one generation of women to the succeeding. The craft is native to the barren lands of Balochistan celebrating nomadic lifestyle.

Shezad Baloch, a journalist at the Express Tribune quotes Faheem Baloch, a lecturer at the University of Balochistan in a 2012 article, ‘most of the motifs and designs of Balochi embroidery have been inspired by nature, some of the patterns take inspiration from the pottery of the Mehrgarh civilization, one of the oldest civilizations of the world, which once existed in the Bolan district of Balochistan’.

This increases the importance that the craft holds as it points towards an intact cultural practice.

A traditional Balochi shalwar kameez. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

A traditional Balochi shalwar kameez. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

The craft basically belongs to women as artisans and also as a wearer. It is said that Balochi women practice the embroidery every day to keep their skills polished. Although machine embroidery is also now available but handcrafted and customized shirts (kameez) hold more value.

The embroidery covers the front of the kameez, along-with the cuffs of the sleeves and shalwar (open trousers). Bright-colored threads, tiny mirrors, and stitching are part and parcel of the final product.

Different regions of Balochistan have their own distinct designs indicating relevance to a particular tribe. For instance, the Kalat district is known for its kalati embroidery, whereas, periwal, jalar, kapuk and naal are a product of Mekran division. Different types of stitches are used in the embroidery which are geometrically organized related to a location or may even relate to a woman’s current situation.

‘A mother who has lost her only son might refrain from using certain stitches in her embroidery, while a widow will be identified by the use of simple threads.’ (Humsheri.org, in a 2015 article). Common motifs used are arrows, chicken feet, diamonds and flowers.

Hand embroidery is not only famous nationally, but is revered in the Gulf countries. The most extravagant dresses are made for the brides; which can sell for as much as Rs 70,000 and could take several months to a year to complete. Simple everyday wear is quiet affordable to the extent that many believe the women responsible for producing such work of art are not being given their due share for the hard work.

References:

  • Baloch, S. (2012). Balochi ensembles: the threads of time. The Express Tribune, http://tribune.com.pk/story/354506/balochi-ensembles-the-threads-of-time/ retrieved 29th October 2016, 3:00pm.
  • Hum Shehri. 2015. Pashk. http://humshehri.org/culture/pashk/ retrieved 29th October 2016, 3:00pm.
  • Embroidery. Asia InCH Encylopedia. The Craft Revival Trust. UNESCO. http://www.craftrevival.org/CraftArtDetails.asp?CountryCode=Pakistan&CraftCode=003468  retrieved 29th October 2016, 3:00pm.

This article was originally created for, and published on www.gounesco.com, a UNESCO supported umbrella of initiatives that makes heritage fun.
By Roshini Muralidhara

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The toys are made from ivory wood that is grown in old parts of the  Mysore region, and are exported worldwide. Photo credit: Pee Vee/Flickr

Karnataka is a land rich in art and history.  Many craft traditions in the state have been passed on from generations and this progression has helped support a variety of handicrafts. One such tradition that has gained immense popularity is the art of lacquerware toys in the town of Channapatna, a city located 60 kilometers southwest of Bengaluru, in the Ramnagara district.

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Channapatna toys  in their various forms. Photo credit: Sandip Bose/caleidoscope.in

This art’s origin can be traced back to the reign of Tipu Sultan who had summoned artisans from Persia to train the local craftsmen in the making of wooden toys. For over two decades, ivory wood  wood has been used prominently; occasionally rosewood, sandalwood, cedar, pine and teak are also utilized.

This traditional craft is protected as a geographical indication under the World Trade Organization, regulated by the government of Karnataka, and are featured in every major handicraft exhibition in India.

During her January 2015 visit to India, First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, was so impressed by these toys that now they adorn the shelves of the White House!

The first cultural tableau at the 66th Repulic Day parade at Rajpath was from Karnataka. Photo credit: Screengrab

The first cultural tableau at the 66th Repulic Day parade at Rajpath was from Karnataka. Photo credit: Screengrab

Owing to the popularity of these toys, Channapatna is known as ‘Gombegala Ooru’ (Toy Town or Land of Toys) of Karnataka.

Wood for the process is acquired from the local tree of Aale-Mara (Wrightia tinctoria). Artisans follow the traditional method of handicraft which involves lacquering.The initial step of the toy making process is procuring wood from the local markets.

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The various chisels used in the toy making. Photo credit: Sandip Bose/caleidoscope.in

The wooden planks are seasoned for two to three months based on their size. Then, they are mounted on a lathe machine and are cut into various shapes using different types of chisels.

Once the required shapes are achieved, they are rubbed with sand paper for smoothening and then are pressed with a lacquer stick, for the eventual gleam. The toys are then pruned, carved and coloured using vegetable dyes. Finally, the product is given a polish.

These toys manufactured using fine quality seasoned wood, vegetable dyes and smooth edges are known to be one of the safest.

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Artisans chisel out the toys for that smooth finish. Photo credit: Sandip Bose/caleidoscope.in

The toy making industry is  majorly a small-scale industry. Even though the state government has established large-scale lacquerware craft complexes with training institutes, local skilled artisans have studios in their homes. Even though this industry earlier faced a stiff competition from Chinese toy makers, it is back in demand with export ordrs from Europe and America,.

These local artisans are benefited by a number of non-governmental organizations and private companies such as Microsoft (India) who provide them with designs that are contemporary and have global standards to produce world-class toys.

Though these skilled workers do not make a lot of money in the process, their knowledge of the craft and job satisfaction was pretty apparent when I visited one such workshop.

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The end product of the industry is a variety of wooden toys ranging from dolls to spinning tops (called Buguri locally), trains, bullock-carts, small vintage cars, mathematical games, puzzles etc.. Photo credit: Hari Prasad Nadig via Flickr


NAZARIYA