Indian Craftsmanship knows no bounds, the diversity that we process is bound to produce some brilliant human endeavors in hand training. Since ages now, people have been using handcrafted tools to make their life easier and more sustainable. The coming of technology, however, has dissembled these brilliantly designed techniques and products. Let us remember some amazing Indian Household Designs that have retained just as show pieces or antiques!
The very famous sil-batta from our households is a renowned kitchen tool. The availability and presence of it in the crush, crush however has been less as there are better means of grinding in a mixer. Grindstones are usually made of sand-stones are have a prolific design for better grinding. The texture of this stone is upward porous with a very little depth, this depth acts as a filter for the grind. Sil-batta was essentially found in all Indian households like a couple of years back until the electronics raged up the market for mixers!
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This here needs no explanation, matka and its distant cousin surahi were summer essentials in older times. It is still a viable mean of keeping water cool in summers in the rural areas. But the refrigerator has taken up the entire urban space with its convenience and multi food storage built. Beautiful earthen pots with painting and different patterns specific to the particular region made these earthen pots an important part of Indian Household. These pots are made of clay, they are generally used for water storage and surahi is only used for drinking water storage.
Roghan Kaam is a dying craft that traces its origins in Persia and was handed down to the Kutch region of Gujarat 400 years ago. Roghan Kaam is now known just as Roghan art, in the form of wall art. The long traces of leaves and flower embroidery, the famous lata embroidery is a part of Roghan Kaam. Many art forms from our own region have an influence of the Persian flower branch and intricate embroidery. These embroideries were found in clothing, cushions and mats. But the remains remain static to wall art today.
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Bamboo basket and trays
Soop or Bamboo trays have been a very essential component of the Indian Household especially in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. It is made of bamboo twigs intertwined with each other in a smooth knot fashion. Soop was used in storing products and is still a major component of the very popular festival of Bihar- Chhath. I remember when I was small, my mother used to hand me over the soop containing pulses and other mixes to be put out in the sun. It was used as a storage and holder. In villages, the soop that had the smoothest knots were painted in natural dyes and hung up on the wall as art pieces.
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Oh I loved the style and intimidation these porcelain jars portray. They look so intimidating to he kids, I tell you from experience! These porcelain jars are huge and were usually used to store pickles. Known as Pingaani Jaadi in South India, these jars have been a pan Indian presence. Made of ceramic or porcelain, these jars are sort of fragile and require a steady hold. But with the onset of glass containers and other beautiful steady designs, these jars have become more of an antique element. You can find them online and in collection stores, the production of these jars however has downsized.
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Dheki was a very usual sight in all rural households until very recent times. Especially in the states of Bengal, Assam, Orissa, Bihar, this device was operated by 2-13 women and rice was threshed. A dheki is an agricultural tool used for threshing, to separate rice grains from their outer husks, while leaving the bran layer, thus producing brown rice. Dhekis aren’t a very common sight anymore because of the availability of technologies such as combine harvester that require much less physical labor.
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An Okhal is a large form of the mortar and pestle that could grind and crush bigger grains and spices. The Okhal technique is like a dance, you pick the long pestle, crush it with one hand, pass it on to the other hand in a dynamic sway, do the same and pass it to the former hand. It is so amazing to see women of rural India still using mortars. What our kitchen contains is the smallest form of the stone mortar that we use to grind little spices.
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There is no requirement or conjecture to get rid of the technology per se, it would just be as efficient if we could look back and see the amazing designs and crafts that our ancestors have produced. It is only befitting that a designer should know of the brilliant designs from his/her own land!