Wooden Lacquerware of Rajasthan

The craftsmen of Rajasthan are involved in ornamenting wood with painting and lacquering with great skill and creativity. The wooden article is smoothened by rubbing a fine pottery powder prior the application of lac. The wooden article is then turned on the wheel and as the lac stick is pressed against it, the lac is smeared all over the article. Several layers of different coloured lac are applied in this way. This is followed by applying a marble polish with a bamboo edge and then shining it with an oil rag. The layers of lac are then scraped with a pointed chisel to highlight the required colour.

Zig-zag, dana work, atishi or fire, abri or cloud, nakashi, etched nakashi and painted decorative work are different varieties of lacquering. Opaque and translucent colours are used to beatify landscapes, human figures, hunting scenes with details of flowers, leaves, trees and animals are all portrayed with extraordinary skill and craftsmanship.

To finish varies by the pressure with which the lac sticks are held against the article to be lacquered so that random blotches of colour are imparted. The main centres for this artform are Jaipur, Kota, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Sawaimadhopur and Khandela. The products made are bed posts, legs for small stools or pidis , chowkies and toys. The wood used here is the soft variety.