Retail and Craft Culture

Patricia Malec SCU’19

“According to India’s National Sample Survey, employment in handcrafts industries was estimated at 5.7 million in 1991 and 8.4 million in 1994-1995” (Strawn 2006). These numbers have done nothing but grow throughout the years

India is known for its creative contribution to the textile and dyeing industries. Rajasthan, specifically, is known for its paintings. Two types that are common are the miniatures- “small-scale paintings that are executed on small surfaces, but cram in a surprising amount of detail by way of delicate brushstroke” that originated in the 16th and 17th centuries and phads, “scroll paintings that are done on cloth and portray deities, mythology, and legends of Rajput kings.”(Brown, L., 2011).

Lady of the House- Miniature Painting

Paper making is huge in Sanganer, near Jaipur. Environmentally friendly paper is made from old rags that are “soaked, pulped, strained, beaten, and then spread out to dry on frames.” While there are paper-making factories that have popped up, there are still many places that still go through the process entirely by hand. (Brown, L., 2011).

Handmade Paper from India

Many of these goods are sold in market fairs instead of outlet shops to encourage local contribution to the economy and local culture, in fact, many government halls hold sales each November during Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. (Strawn, 2006). But, considering that India is as digitally inclined as it is, online retailing has become substantial. Online marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy have many Indian contributors, as well as smaller sites like ItsHandMade and CraftsVilla (Gupta, A. 2016)

“Textile handcrafts in India spring from their creative roles in religion, art, festivals, and in everyday life” (Strawn, 2006). They build off the culture and enhance it in the best ways possible and I believe that learning more about them will help us understand Indian culture in an entirely new way.


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