Handcrafted Gifts India Shopping
The demand for Indian handicrafts continues to increase in the wealthy Western countries. Along with synthetic, handmade, hand-printed, tie-dyed or batik fabrics are once again major export items, and almost all India’s hand-knotted carpets are destined for foreign buyers.
Although many crafts are centred on cities, is in rural India that they flourish as an integral part of the economy. Some have suffered from the introduction of cheaper, more practical replacements, with moulded plastic imitating traditional materials. Others thrive, unopposed; the earthenware water-pot features in kitchens from Delhi to the smallest hamlet. Most households have a charpoy (literally ‘four feet’),the wooden-framed bed bound across with handmade twine; often a coarse cotton dhurrie lies across it, perhaps woven by the women of the house. In the chill of northern winter a rezai (quilt) is to the bedding, made up by the local tailor, and other craftsmen walk the autumn streets, plucking the taut string of their bow, tool of their trade with which they floss out the compacted cotton filling of the rezai. The farmer prefers to buy custom-made tough leather slippers in the village bazaar. His will choose those covered with hand-embroidery. He may boast a ‘terycot’ suit hidden away in mothballs, but his workaday clothes are of handwoven coarse white cotton. Her clothes, as long as her husband lives, will be coloured, perhaps locally tie-dyed, or embroidered. After he dies she, too will assume white cotton.