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Indian Crafts >> Pachchikari Work
Pachchikari Work
History of Pachchikari Work

Agra, known as Agraban in ancient times, is one of the oldest cities of India. Shahjahan the Mughal ruler raised monuments of incomparable beauty, the Taj Mahal, a poem in marble, and the Agra Fort.The history of the work of marble carving is related directly to the making of Taj Mahal. It is believed that the first master craftsmen came from Iran and Afghanistan when the Taj Mahal was made. They settled in Agra and taught the skill of the marble carving to mostly butcher community, and sheikhs among the Muslims. The festival of India abroad during the past few decades have made this craft a popular export item. Inspite its vast export potentials and availability of the raw materials in other towns, the Pachchikari work is confined to Agra only. This industry of Vrindavan is 200 years old. Gorahari village, with its rich deposits of beautiful soft stone has nurtured a sizeable stone carving industry.The finest examples of jali work in sandstone exists at Chunar.
Fine Art
The craft known as the pachchikari work involving intricate carving is confined to Agra. Fine geometric patterns of jali design intertwined with the foliage and floral motifs are the intricacies of the marble carving in Agra. The craftsperson are inspired by the beautiful carvings in the Mughal monuments in and around Agra. Few among the renowned artisans like Harimohan Sharma have recreated the smaller replicas of these monuments. About 252 types of jali are used for carving decorations. Some of these are aathmaas pachmaas, barahmaas, solahmaas, chaubi, kamer, phool-patti, champa-chameli, surajmukhi, gurhal, titli, anaar ka phool, chandni . Apart from the pachchikari work, various figuratuive forms are also carved in the stones. The artisans doing this work are in Agra,Varanasi,Hamirpur, Banda.
Procedure
Dimensions of the figure to be made are marked on a stone slab. Extra edges are removed from the slab by beating with a hammer. Big pieces of stone are cut vertically into smaller slabs, and rough sketches are made on it. The drawing is cut out of the slab with the aid of a saw. This slab is converted in the form of the desired figure with a hammer and a chisel. Minor carvings like eyes, nose etc. in case of human figures is done by a pointed chisel. A hammer and chisel is used for further smoothening. Before carving, alabaster is kept in boiling water overnight and treated chemically. This smoothens and whitens the surface of alabaster. Polishing is done for the final finishing with sand or carborundum pieces. Many of the carved artifacts are painted. Others are fitted with looking mirrors, brass fittings etc. for value addition. Carving in the gorahari stone are known for there jali work. Generally animal and bird forms are created by carving a baby form inside the mother form.
Resources
Basic Material : Alabaster, black stone, tamra stone, white marble, gorahari, sange-rathak pathar (dark brown stone) soft stone, green soft stone, white jhiri, stone slab
Decorative Material : Looking glasses, clean glasses brass fittings, shining leaves
Colouring Material : Alps polish
Equipments
File, saw, chisel; polishing materials- alps polish
Artifacts
Jewellery boxes, idols, jewel caskets, window screens, brackets, models of monuments, table lamps, minor frames, photo-frames, lamp, ashtrays, statues, candle stands, kitchen accessories-glass, food container, trays, thali, bati (saucer), plates, bowls

Indian Crafts : History of Pachchikari Work