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Mahyah Binti Idris

Crewel Embroidery is done entirely by hand - no machine can recreate the skill or the impact of the strands of wool on a simple piece of fabric.

Crewelwork is a kind of hand embroidery that has been practised in Kashmir for centuries. A hook (aari) and mainly woollen yarns in single or multicolour colours are used in this technique. A variety of products, including Namda (felt carpet), clothing material, and curtain fabric, are made with the help of crewelwork. The foundation fabric is the same for all of these products, and it is this which decides what the item would be used for and how it would be decorated.

Kashmiri Crewel Embroidery differs from other parts of the world as it is mainly made of woollen yarns compared to other parts of the world where it is made of synthetic or cotton yarns. Crewel Embroidery is done entirely by hand - no machine can recreate the skill or the impact of the strands of wool on a simple piece of fabric.

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Work is required on a number of fronts in order to bring this art back to life.

Namda is believed to have originated around the 11th century, under the reign of Akbar, the great Mughal emperor. According to historical records, Akbar directed to provide an appropriate covering for his horse, who was suffering from severe cold. As a response, an elderly man rose to his feet and stated his thoughts. His name was Nubi; he used to stitch multicolored and exquisite patterns into wool. Therefore, he offered his felting services to the emperor and as a result, wool felting was born and since then has developed into a world-class craft form that continues to astound people to this day. The skill of Namda manufacturing, was introduced to Kashmir by the Sufi saint Shah- e- Hamdan, who came with the noble purpose of providing a source of income for the Kashmiris. Namda making is still a source of income for a large portion of Kashmir's population.

a mat on grass Namda making is still a source of income for a large portion of Kashmir's population. | India Mart

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Kashmir's carved walnut woodwork is considered to be one of the most prominent crafts in the region.

Kashmir's carved walnut woodwork is considered to be one of the most prominent crafts in the region. Because of the high concentration of walnut trees in Kashmir, walnut wood carving is unique to Kashmir. In Kashmir, Walnut woodcarving was originally initiated by Sheik Hamza Makhdoom during the Zainul Abdideen rule of the 15th century. The King encouraged the art to grow the economy of the valley.

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Channapatna toys on display outside a handicrafts store in Karnataka

Bangalore attracts tourists and the urban population in two concentrated areas. One is the Bangalore-Mysore Road, and the other is at the helm of Brigade Road. At these places, colorful toys are displayed in scores, some in large woven baskets, some hanging off colorful threads, and some of the larger ones sitting pristine on the footpath, watching the movement of the people. These toys are the famous Channapatna craft of Karnataka, the pride of the state.

The Channapatna craft originated in Persia, and Tipu Sultan is said to have patronized it in Mysore. Local artists were taught how to carve wood into these geometric patterns, and color them with dyes, way back in the days of the Vijayanagar Kingdom. They survived the patronage of many rulers after that, and have a global acclaim today.

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