History of
Indian Crafts
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Indian Crafts >> Combs
Indian Crafts - Combs
History of Combs

Nagina is a centre about 300-400 years old, famous for work on abnoos wood. The combs are made since then. The designs on comb are same as jali designs of stone. Traditionally, the craft was restricted to Muslim community. Sade kanghe (plain combs) were popular during old days. With the introduction of plastic combs, this industry suffered a set back. To revive this craft, a training scheme was started in 1982 at Nagina.

Combs made of buffalo horn used to have a wide market throughout India and Far East till the first quarter of this century.
Fine Art
Combs are made in pairs, male and female. Male combs have teeth on one side and female combs have teeth on both sides. Male combs are called as Raja ka kangha, female combs are called as Rani ki kanghi.

Buffalo horn is used in making statuettes, combs, boxes, cups, hukka mouth-pieces, pen holders, walking stick handles, umbrella handles, snuff-boxes, dagger and knife handles etc. Ornaments like necklaces, brooches & bangles are made in some of the Bengal district.
A piece of the size and shape of the comb is cut from abnoos wood, by a saw. The teeth are cut on the tapered side and design is on the thick side. The design is traced on it with a compass and is engraved with a drill machine. After the carving is done, it is smoothened and teeth are chiseled. The piece is held in the left hand and the skill lies in holding the ari in right hand and cutting with the precise control of distance with the left thumb. The teeth are cut at a regular distance without any measurement. The piece has minimum thickness in the centre and tapers on both the sides.

A portion of horn is kept moist with coconut oil and heated before a fire until it becomes almost as soft as wax. It is then worked or pressed into the required form, either with hands or by means of moulds made of hard wood. Then it is finished off with scraping tools and a small lathe.The whole body is then polish and ornamented with simple but graceful designs. The ornamentation is done in line with a fine, double-pointed steel graving tool. The tools used in this work are very simple.
Basic Material : Variety of wood- abnoos, kaim, sheesham, and rose.

Basic Material : Buffalo horn, rhinoceros horn, tortoise horn, coconut oil
Colouring Material : Polish
Adda (sheesham wood), ari (saw), compass, taki ari

wooden mould, small rude lathe, saw, triangular blades without handles, pair of compasses, calipers, graving tool, file or rasp.
Jali comb with handle, double jali comb, juda comb, machli ki jali comb, (fish jali), tel wala kangha (oil comb), marore ki kalsi ka kangha, kalsi ka kangha, double jali ka gol kangha, surma silai, Raja-Rani ki kanghi.

Combs, pen holders, napkin rings, spoons, walking sticks, fork, knife handles, play items, buttons, trays cigarette cases, little boxes, ashtrays, pen stands, lamps, necklaces, brooches, bangles, snuff boxes, hukka, daggre, cups

Indian Crafts : History of Combs