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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.

MANUFACTURING:


For carving, the walnut wood logs are sliced into planks with the help of machinery; this machine is locally known as "Band Saw," and the practice is locally known as "Laker Chiren" or simply "Chirin." These wooden boards are then chopped and set to dry, permitting air to travel through. The first phase in this practice is to hold the planks straight so that the sap is lowered in the plank, which takes around 4-6 months.

Bed carved with chinar leaves A timber carver, known locally as Naqash, crafts the bland wooden board into a unique and magnificent art form. | Mahyah Binti Idris


After 4-6 months, these wooden planks are then sent to the carpenter, who creates a box, window, or furniture such as a bed, table, chair, etc. These wooden boards are cut to the desired measurements and then leveled with the application of the planar, which is called "Randh Dunn," to make them thicker evenly in regular measurements. These planks of regular size are now finished using different local tools. The sandpaper is used to smooth the rough edges, while the pullet and varnish are used to smoothen and polish the surface. From the carpenter, who is usually called 'Chaan,' the piece is then sent to a timber carver, known locally as Naqash, who crafts the bland wooden board into a unique and magnificent art form. This is the last step referred to as carving.

STYLES OF WOODCARVING:

  • Undercut (Khokerdar):

This type features multi-layers up to seven. The overall outcome tends to represent diverse patterns or sceneries in three dimensions: a jungle with layers of flowers, interwoven, animals jumping from bushes, birds flying, etc.

  • Open or Latticework (Jalidahr):

This form of artwork is seen on screens and gives a magnificent look through Jali work. In this, Chinar leaf designs and Mughal jali patterns are carved.

  • Deep carving (Vaboraveth):

This technique is also known as raised work, and the carving designs consist of dragons or lotus designs. The depth of the carving piece can go up to 5 inches.

  • Semi carving (Padri):

This style of art usually consists of narrow panels with a core theme around the surface rim.

  • Shallow carving (Sadikaam):

In this, the scenes are pursued along the pencil lines to give them a little depth.

TOOLS USED FOR WOOD CARVING:

The main tools are: - chisels of different styles (wathlavun), planer (randha), L-angle to obtain parallel and perpendicular lines (Khari hat), tape measuring (phetgaz), and wooden scale (khat chhal).

design on staircase The themes of these wooden handicrafts are inspired by several natural beauties of Kashmir, Chinar leaves, Vine leaves, Lotus, and Rose blooms. | Mahyah Binti Idris


DIFFERENT THEMES OF WOOD CARVING:

The themes of these wooden handicrafts are inspired by several natural beauties of Kashmir, Chinar leaves, Vine leaves, Lotus, and Rose blooms. Kashmiri's wood carving specialty is the Khatam band with geometrical designs that are magnificently carved on wood. The patterns are chiselled around the edges or cover the full surface. The diversely sculpted flower designs or geometric motifs form stunning works of art. A single item might take between 2 days and six months, depending on the complexity of the design.

Flowers carved on wood The diversely sculpted flower designs or geometric motifs form stunning works of art. | Mahyah Binti Idris


Don't forget to read about the Unique Handicrafts of Kashmir by clicking HERE.



Keywords: walnut, wood carving, wood, carpenter, kashmir, handicraft


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