Andhra Pradesh Art & Crafts


Standardization is alien to them". So say the admirers about the silversmiths of Karimnagar-the creators of silver Filigree. Because, the most fascinating aspect of silver Fiilgree is the element of newness and surprise. Every piece looks different, delicate and unique. In Filigree work, twisted silver wire is the material, and the articles have the trellis-like appearance of jali which endows them with rare charm. The silversmith crimps thin strips of fine silver into zigzag patterns and loops using it to fill up the ground of designs formed by using it thicker silver strips. The strips and fine silver are then deftly soldered, carefully avoiding the trellis-like Filigree pattern.



This art of silver inlay on  metal has always kept historians guessing. Various accounts exist about origin and entry into India and subsequently Andhra Pradesh. The art has successfully expressed the experiences of the Sufis, the aesthetic values of the Moghuls and the yearning of warriors to decorate their ornaments of valour-swords, daggers, lances and shields. Broadly speaking, there are four main stages in the manufacture of Bidri. They are (1)casting  (2) engraving  (3) inlaying and (4) oxidising.


Stone  Carvings:-Stone  Carvings

In classic Sanskrit treatises, the sculptor has been given various names. He is known as the Sadhak, the Mantrin and the Yogi. this is perhaps explained  by the ultimate aim of the sculptor to be primarily spiritual and only secondarily aesthetic. The sculptor  was not    endeavoring to portray the mere perfection of the physical structure, as with the Greeks. He believed that even the perfect human figure could not fully manifest the higher spiritual values of life, nor contain within itself the attributes and qualities of the divinity



Wood Carvings:-Wood Carvings
In ancient India, the carpenter held an important place in the social life of the village and was in fact  called the Sutradhar or the "holder of the line". Mention of elaborate directions as to the season and manner of felling a tree, seasoning of the wood and the making of the different articles required are given. Though carpenters no longer drive chariots like they used to in ancient India, they definitely continue to enthrall us by their intricate and beautiful work. Painstakingly created, every wood carving is a story of  dedication and perseverance. Matched and ultimately crowned by the joy of creation itself.


Bronze Castings:-Bronze Castings

Before making bronze idols, the craftsman had to carefully study the verses from the Shilpashastra. the verses were called dhyana and instructed the craftsmen on physical   measurements, proportions, description of the deity, characteristics, symbolism and above all, aesthetics. This is how the  craftsmen set about  creating masterpieces from bronze in ancient India. what is also interesting is the guidance that was sought from nature for modeling icons-eyebrows were modelled after neem leaf or fish ; nose, the sesume flower, the upper lip, a bow; chin, a mango stone; neck, the conch shell and so on.





There is a small village called Budithi in Central Srikakulam-a district in Andhra Pradesh. Here, life revolves around creating beautiful shapes out of alloys. the shapes range from the charmingly traditional to the elegantly modern. The charmingly traditional cooking utensils and also in forms that suit contemporary needs- like flower pots and planters. Usually made of brass, the objects have patterns that are geometric, with straight lines and curves forming simple and striking presentations. Floral patterns abound too.



Sheet Metal:-Sheet Metal

Pembarthi village in Warangal District of Andhra Pradesh saw its glory during the reign of Kakatiyas. You'd be wondering why and how. It is a 500 year old answer! during the period of Kakatiya rule, sheet metal workmanship adorned the vigrahas and vahanas . With temples proliferating in the vast Kakatiya kingdom, the Pemparthi sheet metal worker sawhis fame attract people from all religions of India.




Tribal in origin, the Dokra metal craft is common to the tribal belts of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Bengal and Andhra Pradesh  In Andhra Pradesh this craft is found in Chittalbori  and Ushegaon in Adilabad District .What makes Dokra unique is that no two pieces are like. deftly aerated by hand , the objects have individualistic touch. Figurines, horses, drummers peculiar shaped spoons and hauntingly original tribal Gods can be seen in Dokra.




Lacquer craft is application of lacquer on wood in pleasing shades to create a distinctive appeal. Etikoppaka in Andhra Pradesh is one of the most important centres of this craft. Lacquering is done on a lathe, hand- or machine-operated. For turning slender and delicate items, the hand-lathe is preferred. Lac is applied in a dry state. That is, the lac-stick is pressed against the woodenware to be lacquered. As the latter keeps revolving the heat from friction softens the lac, enabling the color to stick. Design are painted with a brush on figures, objects and toys. Among the most popular lacquerware are the lac bangles. Hitherto studded with gold and precious stones, today they are also available with beads, glass, stones, mirrors and more.



In Nirmal town, Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh, there is a concentration of craftsmen known as Nakash, whose traditional art is painting scenes from the Hindu epics-Mahabharata and Ramayana. These craftsmen use indigenous colors made from minerals, gum and herbs. The now familiar gold in Nirmal work is got herbal juices. Over the years, Nirmal work has grown to meet new needs. Moving away from being mere painters of epics, the craftsmen today paint motifs in the style of Indian schools.


Puppets, Toys and Dolls:-Puppets, Toys and Dolls

In India, toys and dolls have a history as old as icons and idols themselves. From the realm of divine inspiration to, day to day recreation, the craftsmen with their innate skills transformed mundane objects as toys into expressions of art. In fact, Andhra Pradesh has a number of toy forms. Leather puppets, kondapalli dolls, tirupati dolls, Nirmal toys and Etikoppaka dolls.




Folk Paintings:-  Folk Paintings

There is a very picturesque origin to the art of painting. "Narayan", the Supreme Being was engaged in meditation when when clestical dancing girls apsaras tried to disturb him with a display of coquetry and blandishments. The god concieved of a plan to cure the maidens of their vanity. The apsaras were put to shame when they saw this painted maiden Urvashi, and crept away silently from God's prsence. And the picture into which Divine skill had infused the golden breath of life, became the ideal form of feminine beauty. Vishwakarma, the architect of heaven, was then instructed bin the art and science of painting so that he might transmit his knowledge to the people of the earth.


Kalamkari and Block-printed Fabrics:-Kalamkari and Block-printed Fabrics

Kalamkari is  a  craft of painted  and printed  fabrics. It derives its name from kalam or pen with  which the patterns are traced. It is  an art form that developed both for decoration and religious ornamentation. The discovery of a resist-dyed piece of cloth on a silver vase at the ancient site of  Harrapa confirms that the tradition of Kalamkari is very old. Even the ancient Buddhist Chaitya Viharas were decorated with Kalamkari cloth. The great Alexander is also supposed to have acquired this Kalamkari cloth.In andhra Pradesh, Kalmkari is done in machilipatnam and Srikalahasti.




Ikat, the technique by which the wrap or weft or both be tie-dyed in such a way that when woven, the 'programmed' pattern appears in finished fabric. Of resist-dye techniques, the use of clay or  wax-resist has long been known to Indian textile printers and painters, who would stamp or delineate the fabric  with resist and then immerse and reimmerse in dye. To reserve areas of the warp or weft or both, before the process of weaving with tied threads, and then to dye the yarn, is more interesting process that requires greater skill. And this seems to be more closely aligned to weaving, than to  the application of impression of a  resist to the surface of a fabric.



Andhra has the bright Venkatagiri saris which are woven with the help of a fly-shuttle loom, thrown from side to side. Venkatagiri saris have a pleasant colors with gold dots, coins, leaves , parrots, or simple geometrical patterns. Narayanpet saris, in cotton and silk, some from place with the same name. The cotton saris woven in dark earthy colors are particularly eye catching. The Gadwal cotton and Kothakota sarisfrom Vanaparti have a rich gold borders and heavy panels like pallvas.



Crochet Lace:-Crochet Lace

Introduced in the middle of the 19th century to provide employment to the poverty striken women of the area, lace work was, to start with, sent to friends and relatives abroad as gifts which were highly appreciated. Starting with a mere dozen designs, the local skills were use to evolve as many as 300 designs over the years which speaks of the high artistic sense of the artisans. The raw materials and implements required for this industry are simple, consisting of only a hooked needle and cotton thread. The thread used is twisted mercerised cotton thread. The craft is carried on by thousands of women working part time at their homes in Narsapur and Palakol areas of West Godavri District and Razole Taluka of East Godavri District.


Banjara Embroidery:-Banjara Embroidery

Think of nomads, caravaners, gypsies and you think of them as "free people". Free from the binds of urban life, they evoke dreams of the life spirit roaming without fetters. And is  from this that the Banjaras in Andhra Pradesh seem to have captured their exuberant clothes. Nomads in the past, the Banjaras today aggregate in groups called tandas. Staying in communes they still strive to preserve the fascinating and unpredictable traditions of their ancestors. tattooed women with hands weighed down by ivory bangles create the memorable mirror work which the Banjaras are famous for.

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