The wood history Woodcarving is an art and India has been a traditional producer of woodcarving furniture for ages. Production of woodcarving is developed on a commercial scale, which is carried out by many Indian artisans from generation to generation. India has abundant collection of woodcarved furniture, out of which some has been explored and a lot remains to be discovered. It has a rich old heritage to crown its head, which is believed to be the oldest heritage of the world. This has been adored and preserved by the Indians since time immemorial. The exquisite furniture range comes in various styles with varying designs, finishes, colors, shapes etc.
The designs and the carvings may be etched on the back or front, which gives a remarkable and pleasing appearance. The use of high quality wood enhances the overall functional value and visual appeal of furniture. In the beginning, shisham was the only wood used by handicraftsmen.
Thereafter some ingenious craftsmen experimented with teakwood from Nepal and Assam, ebonite from Assam and rosewood from the South. Struggle for survival forced the wood carving industry to pass through many critical phases. Changing scenario of industry turned the craftsmen to many other varieties of woods.
Besides traditional shisham, wood craftsmen have now been using many other varieties of wood depending upon the suitability of texture, color, grains of wood for particular job. For deep under-cutting and sculptural effect teak, rosewood and walnut are preferred. For low relief, shisham and deodar is used and for incised design ebony are considered. Rohira, sal, babul, etc are coarse grained and hard wood used for bold work.
Haldu and dudhi are used for special polychromatic effects. The opulent Indian Wooden Furniture Treasure Chest Woodcarving industry is spreader in majority parts of the country with some of it's main parts including Rajasthan, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and more. Woodcraft of Saharanpur is famous all over the world for its elegance and beauty.
Saharanpur is known for vine-leaf patterns on Sheesham wood. Floral, geometric and figurative carving is also done here with wood inlay work. Woodworks industry in the North Eastern region is scattered and the production is confined to a few items only in a few states. Gujarat has a rich culture for such carving and in addition to small chairs and tables, the swing, without which no traditional home is complete, is made. Wood inlay, which developed and flourished during the Mughal rule, is done with bits of ivory, plastic, horn, metal pieces or other types of wood into carved surfaces of wooden items. This kind is found in various parts of the country such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
Designs of Uttar Pradesh such as the fretwork, jali or the anguri work are also very popular. The wood carvers of Madhya Pradesh, with great sensitivity and skill transform different varieties of wood such as shish, teak, dhudi, sal and kikar into works of art. Madhya Pradesh is famous for painted and lacquered wood product such as toys, boxes, bedposts, cradles posts, flower vases etc. Kashmir is the only state in India, where Walnut trees and Fine Deodar wood are found. The craftsmen here create intricate carvings on wood obtained from the walnut tree which is used to make furniture items like tables, chairs, stools, partitions, trays, book stands, wall decorations, fruit bowls etc that have rich floral and trellis patterns carved on them.
Rajasthan has its own unique wood tradition, Barmer is well known for carved furniture. Some furniture pieces in Barmer like tables, low stools etc has miniature paintings on them. Carved wood items such as cabinets, screens, chairs, tables, almirahs, racks etc are also highly decorated over here. Also each region of Woodcraft in Punjab is into making carved legs of beds and manjis and boxes.
Gwalior, Sheopur-Kalan, Rewa and Budhni are main centers of wood lacquering. Uttar Pradesh has many craft centers engaged in making different items out of wood. Mainpuri is famous for woodwork on ebony or black sheesham inlaid with brass wire. Banaras is known for lacquered toys and miniature utensils for children to play with. India is the second largest supplier of bamboo and West Bengal is known for its creativity and artisans of the State specialized in creating everyday and fancy articles from bamboo and cane. Cane and Bamboo occupy a distinctive place in the life of Tripura too.
Furniture made of cane; Baskets knitted out of cane and bamboo strips are some of the well-known craft produce from the Tripura, which are always on demand. Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu too, have their distinct wood carving traditions. Karnataka is famous for carvings and decorative pieces made from sandalwood.
Sandalwood items like, boxes, trays, key chains, small figurines are not only carved tastefully but they also give out subtle smell of sandal. West Bengal and Kerala are known for items made from the wood obtained from coconut tree. Great prospects for Indian wooden furniture in the foreign markets The Indian furniture industry is a non- organized sector with the production of Handicraft accounting to around 85%.
The furniture industry is estimated to provide employment to around 300,000 workers in India. As a rural and cottage industry, it provides employment to lakhs of people from the weaker sections of society. The skill of the wood workers of India is not only restricted to domestic use but has gain immense popularity in the foreign export markets. The industry has extended to the fashioning of panels, cabinets, doors, windows, temples and furniture.
The taste of the people are moving more towards the antique kind of furniture and a variety of experiments are been carried out with designs by the Indian artisans to cleverly blend the traditional and modern woodcraft items suiting today's decor. Exquisite designs, attractive colors, unmatched workmanship and subtle elegance are the distinguishing features, which have put Indian hand crafted furniture on world map. Steadily climbing the popularity chart the market potential for furniture has reached approximately to US" 240,007.
40 million in 2005. This sector has more potential for earning substantial foreign exchange. Low capital investments, higher value addition and highly labor intensive are highlights that make the sector significant for the country's economy. These items found good market in Central European countries, United States of America, England, Russia and UAE. Japan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar has also emerged as new consumers for the country. Central and State governments have been paying extraordinary attention to ensure high growth rate and development of this industry.
They are also proving funds to many small businesses to help them flourish in the market. Also the Indian government is continuously taking steps to minimize entry-exit barriers for foreign companies. Liberal policies for foreign equity participation and foreign direct investments have given a further boost to the sector. Woodcraft has played its part in making the Indian handicraft fortune wealthier and inspite of many environment prevention issues the prospect of the hand crafted furniture sector in India seems positive.
India presents a favorable outlook to sell this kind of furniture and one expects this sector to grow further in the coming years.
Karishma Roy works at Netlink Solutions (India)
Limited as a Web Content Writer