The aesthetic toys, lamps, and other lifestyle products created using ‘PAPIER MACHE’ are not just the reflection of creativity bubbling in the palms of legacy of artisans but also of the interests, opinions, and traditions of a culture.
‘Papier Mache’, a French term for ‘chewing paper’, is the creation of wonderful objects by meshing the multiple layers of paper using the handmade glue, or any other adhesive. My first encounter with the completely unique art of Papier Mache occurred when I was quite young, watching one of my favourite TV show, ‘Art Attack’. A recent visit to a craft mela refreshed the childhood memories when I saw the mosaic of ‘Papier Mache’ figures dipped in spectacular hues.
Originally started in Persia as ‘kar-i-kalamdan’, the art of ‘Paper Mashing’ ushered its way into India during the Mughal regime in 15th or 16th century. Today, quite a number of craftsmen in Kashmir, Orissa, Rajasthan and other states have taken up the craft; however the Papier Mache of Bihar has garnered the maximum admiration due to its detailed artistry and vibrant painting style. Arousing awe in everyone, the art of craft making consists of the suite of scrupulous stages of fabrication i.e. soaking – sticking – drying – layering – coating – glazing. Afterwards, the final product is beautified further with enchanting motifs and designs inspired by nature and mythology, mostly in Madhubani style.
Produced using the concept of Paper Mache, the vibrant, lightweight & eco-friendly pieces have found a huge market in India and overseas. The raw, humble, and hardworking people of Bihar closely associated with handlooms and handicrafts industry, have asserted their creativity in making artistic Paper Mache products in a time where the technology challenges the practice of making things by hand again & again.
Next time you go out, pick up such tableware, toys, figures, etc. to give your space a mini makeover and beautifully promote/support the legacy of artisans who take a relentless level of commitment and passion for preserving rich art and culture of the country.