“Life is like a box full of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna get”, these iconic lines from the movie Forrest Gump by the protagonist must be vivid in everyone’s memory who watched this cult film. Besides giving us a very important life lesson, these lines portray boxes as a perfect metaphor for events in our lives. Boxes play a very important role in our lives, from keeping some of our most cherished items to storing daily use products, plenty of boxes are used in every household. If you want to gift someone an item which besides being attractive also proves to be useful to them, then these aesthetically hand-carved boxes and bowls would be your best bet.

Bidri Box


 

Karnataka

This craft form originated around 500 years ago in the Middle Eastern regions of Persia and Turkey. Back then, it was mostly used for manufacturing vases but its elegance and robustness has resulted in its application in making boxes, ornaments, trays, paintings and various other showpiece items. Bidriware gets its name from Bidar, a small town in North Karnataka which is the hub of manufacturing this unique metal ware, characterized by silver inlay patterns on black metallic surfaces. The skilled artisans from the southern regions of India beautifully engrave patterns of various flowers, leaves and human figures to leave an indelible mark of their work across the world through these black metallic canvases.

Papier Mache Box


 

Jammu and Kashmir

The craft known by the French term “papier-mache’” which literally means “paper pulp”, is locally known as “kar-e-kalamkari” or “pen-case work”, after its traditional Iranian name. Papier-mache’ was practiced as a form of decoration on the wooden wall panels and wooden furniture, and was eventually adapted to paper moulds as well. Trays, jewellery boxes and book covers were made for royal patrons and members of their courts. The two major processes involved in the craft are “sakthsazi” or “mould making” and naqqashi or “mould painting”. The naqqash renders the surface in intricate floral patterns or highly stylized scenes of hunts and battles. The Mughal period saw the art extending to palanquins, ceilings, bedsteads, doors and windows.

Walnut Wood Box


 

Jammu and Kashmir

Walnut wood carving is an ornamental craft process that is virtually unique to Kashmir due to the exclusive availability of walnut trees (Junglas regia), locally known as dun or akhrot. The naqqash or the master carver first etches the basic pattern onto the wood and then removes the unwanted areas with the help of chisels and a wooden mallet. As a result, the design emerges from the lustrous walnut wood as an embossed surface.

Walnut Wood Triangular Bowl


 

Jammu and Kashmir

Walnut wood carving is an ornamental craft process that is virtually unique to Kashmir due to the exclusive availability of walnut trees (Junglas regia), locally known as dun or akhrot. The naqqash or the master carver first etches the basic pattern onto the wood and then removes the unwanted areas with the help of chisels and a wooden mallet. As a result, the design emerges from the lustrous walnut wood as an embossed surface.

White Mother of Pearl Bowl


 

Uttar Pradesh

Mother of Pearl has been used for multiple decorative purposes since long periods of time. The pieces of shell are smoothened and arranged in ornamental fashion on wood carvings or inlaid in brass objects. It gives both an embossed and a glossy look on finishing. Most products are fashioned in a simple and elegant fashion for mainly room décor and kitchen accessories such as crockery, coasters and bathroom dispensers etc.

White Mother of Pearl Box


 

Uttar Pradesh

Mother of Pearl has been used for multiple decorative purposes since long periods of time. The pieces of shell are smoothened and arranged in ornamental fashion on wood carvings or inlaid in brass objects. It gives both an embossed and a glossy look on finishing. Most products are fashioned in a simple and elegant fashion for mainly room décor and kitchen accessories such as crockery, coasters and bathroom dispensers etc.

Wooden Box


 

Uttar Pradesh

Saharanpur, a city in Uttar Pradesh is well renowned for its work on wood carving and brass-inlay work on wood. Having influences from Kashmiri designs, their open worked screens with vines and floral patterns threading through the entire screen is very famous. Each work is methodically carved, engraved and buffed to give an other-worldly shine. Along with shelves, furniture and coasters, small toys such as trains and planes are also designed. Piggy banks ranging in different sizes are also made quite popular by them.

Zari Box


 

Uttar Pradesh

As is the story with most of the crafts, Zari or Zardozi embroidery also got its name from a village by the same name in ancient Persia. Zari has always been associated with the affluent sections of the society in India and globally as well because it requires weaving thin threads of gold and silver onto fine fabrics of silk. The result of this intricate piece of designing is so exquisite that it completely justifies its monetary worth. Mughal Emperor Akbar can be credited for bringing a revolution in the emergence of Zari as one of the most sought after crafts and for developing areas around Agra and Lucknow as major clusters for this craft. As the impact of Royal patronage waned in our society, the gold and silver were replaced with gold or silver-plated polyester and cotton yarns or slightly costlier copper threads. Lucknow, owing to its Nawabi heritage, still continues to be the biggest market for Zari and Zardozi embroidery.

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