Handicraft
Overview
 
Handicraft, more precisely expressed as artisanic handicraft, sometimes also called artisanry, is a type of work where useful and decorative devices are made completely by hand or by using only simple tools. It is a traditional main sector of craft
Craft
A craft is a branch of a profession that requires some particular kind of skilled work. In historical sense, particularly as pertinent to the Medieval history and earlier, the term is usually applied towards people occupied in small-scale production of goods.-Development from the past until...

. Usually the term is applied to traditional means of making goods. The individual artisan
Artisan
An artisan is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewellery, household items, and tools...

ship of the items is a paramount criterion, such items often have cultural and/or religious significance.
Encyclopedia
Handicraft, more precisely expressed as artisanic handicraft, sometimes also called artisanry, is a type of work where useful and decorative devices are made completely by hand or by using only simple tools. It is a traditional main sector of craft
Craft
A craft is a branch of a profession that requires some particular kind of skilled work. In historical sense, particularly as pertinent to the Medieval history and earlier, the term is usually applied towards people occupied in small-scale production of goods.-Development from the past until...

. Usually the term is applied to traditional means of making goods. The individual artisan
Artisan
An artisan is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewellery, household items, and tools...

ship of the items is a paramount criterion, such items often have cultural and/or religious significance. Items made by mass production
Mass production
Mass production is the production of large amounts of standardized products, including and especially on assembly lines...

 or machines are not handicraft goods.

Usually, what distinguishes the term handicraft from the frequently used category arts and crafts
Arts and crafts
Arts and crafts comprise a whole host of activities and hobbies that are related to making things with one's hands and skill. These can be sub-divided into handicrafts or "traditional crafts" and "the rest"...

is a matter of intent: handicraft items are intended to be used, worn, etc., having a purpose beyond simple decoration. Handicraft goods are generally considered more traditional work, in traditional non-industrial and transitional societies created as a somewhat more necessary part of daily life (in comparison to industrial societies), while arts and crafts implies more of a hobby
Hobby
A hobby is a regular activity or interest that is undertaken for pleasure, typically done during one's leisure time.- Etymology :A hobby horse is a wooden or wickerwork toy made to be ridden just like a real horse...

 pursuit and a demonstration/perfection of a creative technique. In Britain in the late nineteenth century, however, the Arts and Crafts Movement
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

 was not a matter of hobbies, but of creating useful as well as creative work for people, using natural materials and traditional techniques. In practical terms, the categories have a great deal of overlap.

Handicrafts in the Indian subcontinent

The history of handicrafts in areas generally now comprising India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 is an old saga. To peep in to the traces of Indian handicrafts we need to go back almost 5000 years. The first references to handicrafts in the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 can be found from the Moen jo Daro, Sindh Indus Valley Civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

 (3000 BC-1700 BC). The craft tradition in India has revolved around religious beliefs, local needs of the commoners, as well as the special needs of the patrons and royalty, along with an eye for foreign and domestic trade. These craft traditions have withstood the ravages of time and numerous foreign invasions and continue to flourish till date owing to the assimilative nature of Indian culture and broadmindedness of the handicraftsmen to accept and use new ideas.Therefore the handicrafts are a mark of golden history of our country.

The Indus valley civilization had a rich craft tradition as well as a high degree of technical excellence in the field of pottery making, sculpture (metal, stone and terracotta), jewelry, weaving, etc. A lot of material information from excavations at Harappa
Harappa
Harappa is an archaeological site in Punjab, northeast Pakistan, about west of Sahiwal. The site takes its name from a modern village located near the former course of the Ravi River. The current village of Harappa is from the ancient site. Although modern Harappa has a train station left from...

, Mohen-jo-daro, etc. substantiate the craft tradition of the Indus valley civilization. The craftsmen not only catered to all the local needs but surplus items were sent to ancient Arabian cultures via ancient sea routes.

Handicraft is the art of creating products using raw and indigenous materials. It develops the skills and creative interests of students towards a particular craft or trade. The basic training provided in a specific craft prepares the students to become competent craftsmen and artists who can contribute to the establishment of cottage industries, thus contributing to the economic growth of the country.

State Empires

The concept of state was ushered by the rise of the Mauryan Empire in the 3rd century BC. It is said that during the time of Ashoka, 84,000 stupas were built in India, including the world famous Sanchi Stupa, which has beautiful stone carving and relief work done on it. Numerous sculptures from Bharhut, Mathura, Amravati, Vaishali, Sanchi, etc. show female figures adorned with an array of jewelry, which continues to inspire contemporary jewelry making. The iron pillars of Vaishali (Bihar) and Delhi, created during the time of Emperor Ashoka, are a marvel in the field of metallurgy.

Post Mauryan Age

The period between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD was a period of political turmoil as a result of foreign invasions from central Asia. The impact of these intrusions can be seen in the Buddhist sculptures from Taxila, Begram, Bamiyan, Swat valley, etc. (all from the present day Pakistani North West Frontier province) which show a high degree of Greek influence. The depiction of Buddha, having curly hair and wearing draperies, until date is the result of this Greek influence. The sculpture of the Kushan king Kanishka from this period depicting him wearing leather boots and a heavy warm coat amply reflects the influence of the central Asian Culture on Indian craftsmanship. Jewelry, sculpture, textile making, leather products, metal working, etc. were the main handicrafts that inherited these foreign influences and assimilated them in accordance with the Indian milieu.

Gupta Age

The Gupta (AD 320-647) age is referred to as the classical period in Indian history. The points in the field of craft include the rock cut temples of Ellora and the Ajanta murals. These murals give us a realistic view of the lifestyle of that time. The craftsmen of this period, under royal patronage excelled in jewelry making, woodcarving, sculpture, stone carving and weaving.

Medieval India

The Medieval period of Indian history in the context of handicrafts showed a marked shift from north India to the Deccan and southern parts of the country, though the handicraftsmen under the Delhi Sultanate period flourished in the field of pottery, weaving, wood carving, metal working, jewelry, etc. The contribution of the Cholas and the Vijaynagar Empire in the field of bronze sculpture, silk weaving, jewelry, temple carving is beyond parallel. The fine example of stone carving from central India can be seen in the form of the Khajuraho Temples, built by the Chandelas. Rich and ornate wood and stone carving can be found in medieval temple of Jagannath at Puri in Orissa.

List of handicraft trades

Handicrafts include:
  • Assemblage
    Assemblage (art)
    Assemblage is an artistic process. In the visual arts, it consists of making three-dimensional or two-dimensional artistic compositions by putting together found objects...

     – collage in three dimensions
  • Beadwork
    Beadwork
    Beadwork is the art or craft of attaching beads to one another or to cloth, usually by the use of a needle and thread or soft, flexible wire. Most beadwork takes the form of jewelry or other personal adornment, but beads are also used in wall hangings and sculpture.Beadwork techniques are broadly...

  • Bone carving
    Bone carving
    Bone carving is the act of creating art forms by carving into animal bones and often includes the carving of antlers and horns. It can result in the ornamentation of a bone, or the creation of a figure. It has been practiced by a variety of world cultures, sometimes as a cheaper substitute for...

     buffalo, camel, elephant bone carving.
  • Cabinet making
    Cabinet making
    Cabinet making is the practice of using various woodworking skills to create cabinets, shelving and furniture.Cabinet making involves techniques such as creating appropriate joints, dados, bevels, chamfers and shelving systems, the use of finishing tools such as routers to create decorative...

  • Chip carving
    Chip carving
    Chip carving or chip-carving, kerbschnitt in German, is a style of carving in which knives or chisels are used to remove small chips of the material from a flat surface in a single piece. The style became important in Migration Period metalwork, mainly Animal style jewellery, where the faceted...

  • Collage
    Collage
    A collage is a work of formal art, primarily in the visual arts, made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole....

     possibly involving seeds, fabric, paper, photographs and/or found objects
  • Crochet
    Crochet
    Crochet is a process of creating fabric from yarn, thread, or other material strands using a crochet hook. The word is derived from the French word "crochet", meaning hook. Hooks can be made of materials such as metals, woods or plastic and are commercially manufactured as well as produced by...

  • Embossed aluminum or silver
  • Embroidery
    Embroidery
    Embroidery is the art or handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins....

  • Gardening
    Gardening
    Gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants. Ornamental plants are normally grown for their flowers, foliage, or overall appearance; useful plants are grown for consumption , for their dyes, or for medicinal or cosmetic use...

  • Buffalo
    Bubalus
    Bubalus is a genus of bovines, whose English name is buffalo. Species that belong to this genus are:* Subgenus Bubalus** Water Buffalo, Bubalus bubalis*** Carabao, Bubalus bubalis carabanesis...

     horn carving, Rhino
    Rhinoceros
    Rhinoceros , also known as rhino, is a group of five extant species of odd-toed ungulates in the family Rhinocerotidae. Two of these species are native to Africa and three to southern Asia....

     horn carving.
  • Knitting
    Knitting
    Knitting is a method by which thread or yarn may be turned into cloth or other fine crafts. Knitted fabric consists of consecutive rows of loops, called stitches. As each row progresses, a new loop is pulled through an existing loop. The active stitches are held on a needle until another loop can...

  • Lathart
  • Marquetry
    Marquetry
    Marquetry is the art and craft of applying pieces of veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns, designs or pictures. The technique may be applied to case furniture or even seat furniture, to decorative small objects with smooth, veneerable surfaces or to freestanding pictorial panels...

  • Metalwork
  • Mosaic
    Mosaic
    Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

  • Needlework
    Needlework
    Needlework is a broad term for the handicrafts of decorative sewing and textile arts. Anything that uses a needle for construction can be called needlework...

  • Pottery
    Pottery
    Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

     and Ceramics
    Ceramic art
    In art history, ceramics and ceramic art mean art objects such as figures, tiles, and tableware made from clay and other raw materials by the process of pottery. Some ceramic products are regarded as fine art, while others are regarded as decorative, industrial or applied art objects, or as...

  • Pressed flower craft
    Pressed flower craft
    Pressed flower craft consists of drying flower petals and leaves in a flower press to flatten and exclude light and moisture. Pressing flowers makes them appear flat, and often there is a change in color, ranging from faded colors to a greater intensity of vibrant colors.The pressed flowers and...

     — uses real flowers and leaves
  • Puppetry
    Puppetry
    Puppetry is a form of theatre or performance which involves the manipulation of puppets. It is very ancient, and is believed to have originated 30,000 years BC. Puppetry takes many forms but they all share the process of animating inanimate performing objects...

  • Quilting
    Quilting
    Quilting is a sewing method done to join two or more layers of material together to make a thicker padded material. A quilter is the name given to someone who works at quilting. Quilting can be done by hand, by sewing machine, or by a specialist longarm quilting system.The process of quilting uses...

     - also reference Quilt
    Quilt
    A quilt is a type of bed cover, traditionally composed of three layers of fiber: a woven cloth top, a layer of batting or wadding and a woven back, combined using the technique of quilting. “Quilting” refers to the technique of joining at least two fabric layers by stitches or ties...

     and Art quilts
  • Saddle
    Saddle
    A saddle is a supportive structure for a rider or other load, fastened to an animal's back by a girth. The most common type is the equestrian saddle designed for a horse, but specialized saddles have been created for camels and other creatures...

    making
  • Scale model
    Scale model
    A scale model is a physical model, a representation or copy of an object that is larger or smaller than the actual size of the object, which seeks to maintain the relative proportions of the physical size of the original object. Very often the scale model is used as a guide to making the object in...

  • Sewing
    Sewing
    Sewing is the craft of fastening or attaching objects using stitches made with a needle and thread. Sewing is one of the oldest of the textile arts, arising in the Paleolithic era...

  • Shoemaking
    Shoemaking
    Shoemaking is the process of making footwear. Originally, shoes were made one at a time by hand. Traditional handicraft shoemaking has now been largely superseded in volume of shoes produced by industrial mass production of footwear, but not necessarily in quality, attention to detail, or...

  • Spinning
    Spinning (textiles)
    Spinning is a major industry. It is part of the textile manufacturing process where three types of fibre are converted into yarn, then fabric, then textiles. The textiles are then fabricated into clothes or other artifacts. There are three industrial processes available to spin yarn, and a...

  • Stained glass
    Stained glass
    The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

  • Wood burning
  • Wood carving
    Wood carving
    Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object...

  • Woodturning
    Woodturning
    Woodturning is a form of woodworking that is used to create wooden objects on a lathe . Woodturning differs from most other forms of woodworking in that the wood is moving while a stationary tool is used to cut and shape it...

  • Woodworking
    Woodworking
    Woodworking is the process of building, making or carving something using wood.-History:Along with stone, mud, and animal parts, wood was one of the first materials worked by early humans. Microwear analysis of the Mousterian stone tools used by the Neanderthals show that many were used to work wood...


See also

  • Artisan
    Artisan
    An artisan is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewellery, household items, and tools...

  • Arts and crafts
    Arts and crafts
    Arts and crafts comprise a whole host of activities and hobbies that are related to making things with one's hands and skill. These can be sub-divided into handicrafts or "traditional crafts" and "the rest"...

  • List of acronyms used in arts and crafts
  • Rural crafts
    Rural crafts
    Rural crafts refers to the traditional crafts production that is carried on, simply for everyday practical use, in the agricultural countryside. Once widespread and commonplace, the survival of some rural crafts is now in doubt....

  • Handicrafts
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