Orissa > Traditional Craftsmanship

Brass and Bell metal Works

Bellmetal ware occupies a pride of place in the history of Odisha. The artisans of Brass and Bellmetal are traditionally called "Kansari". They propagate ancient and modern method of manufacturing utensils and decorative items which are of traditional shape.

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Horn Works

Creating objects of decoration from horns of animals is a craft of Orissa practiced for many years by the tribes of Santhals, Oraons and Marijas. The craftsmen of Cuttack and Paralakhemundi in Orissa skillfully fashion horns into various objects that are functional and representational of natural objects - birds arrested in flight, animals of prey caught prowling, fighting bulls, fish-guzzling cranes, deer nuzzling their young, elephant rolling logs, combs, pen stands, pipes, lamp shades and others.

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Orissa's style of ikat has a long tradition dating back to the 12th century. The resist tying is done finely on two-thread units giving greater detail and fine curves. These units are tied freehand. Ikat or Bandha, as it is called, has gloriously woven, blurred, and gem coloured motifs in silk and cotton.

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Palm Leaf Paintings

Palm leaf paintings are very ancient in Odisha. The Palm Leaf illustrations are mainly of two types, simple engravings or illustrations in pure line on palm leaf and engraving with colour fillings. In these engravings, colours are muted and play a very minor part. Where colours are at all applied, they are just painted either to emphasize the inscriptions, or to fill up blank space.

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Pata Chitra

"Patta" literally means "cloth" and "Chitra" means "picture" in Sanskrit. The Pattachitra painting tradition is closely linked with the worship of Lord Jagannath in Odisha. The subject matter of Patta chitra is limited to religious themes.

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Silver & Filigree Works

Silverware of Odisha are very widely known. Here Filigree works particularly are unique examples of artistic excellence rarely to be seen in any other part of India. Cuttack is world famous for Filigree work. Silver wires, extremely delicate, are shaped into intricate designs. Forms of animals and birds, articles of daily use like vermilion receptacles are also made out of silver wires. Filigree ornaments, especially brooches and earrings are very popular among Indian women. Scenes from the 'Mahabharat' are sometimes depicted in silver in particular interest is the chariot of Arjuna driven by Lord Krishna done in silver.

Stone Carving

Stone carving is an age-old craft of Odisha. The descendants of the artisans who once scaled the dizzy heights of excellence in temple building have kept the sculptural tradition alive through their hereditary craft of stone carving.

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