Unique Wooden Handicrafts Ruling the Global Market
Handicrafts are one of the oldest ways of expressing ideas and creativity. During the process of excavation, remains of varieties of handicrafts starting from wooden art pieces to other crafts have been found from the sites of the Indus Valley Civilizations, one of the oldest civilizations of the world. Handicrafts made by the artisans convey their exquisite ideas and intricate workmanship which is passed to them from their forefathers. India is known worldwide for its handicrafts for generations and forms an integral part of its rich heritage and culture. The Indian handicraft sector is a highly labour-intensive and decentralised sector, spread across all over the country in rural and urban parts. The handicraft sector is the largest employment generating industry in India after agriculture. India is known for supplying one of the most superior and authentic handicrafts across the world.
Wooden handicraft specifically is one of the segments of the Indian handicraft that is ruling the global market today. During the financial year 2020-2021, woodwares generated around US$ 845.51 million of the total exports for the Indian handicraft. During FY22 (until August 2021), it generated around US$ 380.83 million despite the high number of Covid cases surrounding the country. This shows the immense potential of wooden handicrafts in the global market. In this article, we will discuss in detail some of the unique wooden handicrafts that are ruling the global market today.
Table of Contents
- Famous Wooden Works from Different Part of India
- Gujarat Wooden Work
- Himachal Pradesh Wooden Work
- Kashmir Wooden Work
- Uttar Pradesh Wooden Work
- Andhra Pradesh Wooden Work
- Rajasthan Wooden Work
- Madhya Pradesh Wooden Work
- Karnataka Wooden Work
- Global Market Trends of Wooden Handicrafts
- Future of the Wooden Handicraft Sector
India is known for its rich art and tradition of elaborate carving- on wood in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and various other parts of the country. Wooden handicrafts are popular because of their aesthetic importance and beauty. The vast species of trees cater to the production of various types of wooden works. A large amount of wood from teak trees, Sheesham trees, and various other species of trees is used in the production of exquisite wooden crafts. Besides the wooden furniture, photos frames, dolls, toys, wall hangings, decorative vases, and showpieces made of wood are produced in India and exported worldwide. The wooden crafts come in different forms of art and culture spread across various parts of the country. The different art forms that are used for making decorative items are Warli, Madhubani art form, famous Dhokra art from West Bengal, and many more.
Famous Wooden Works from Different Parts of India
Every Indian state has its own set of wooden handicrafts that adds to the individual craftsmanship of each state. Artisans are skilled to carve exquisite designs out of woods and add to their beauty by colouring them. Let us now look at the famous wooden works that are ruling the global market.
Gujarat Wooden Work
Gujarat is famous for its handicrafts across the globe. Wooden works have always been an integral part of Gujarat’s culture. Some of the old traditional houses of Gujarat can still be seen having carved wooden doors with the images of gods and goddesses in the archway. Bedposts, cradles, toys, and furniture are some of the major woodcrafts produced in Gujarat and exported across the globe. The Sadeli art of Gujarat is world-famous. It is a highly skilled technique that involves the fabrication of various patterns on wood. It is used in the decoration of photo frames, boxes, furniture, windows, and containers. Sadeli art recently became a center of attraction when Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted it to Ivanka Trump during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
Himachal Pradesh Wooden Work
Woodcraft is a primitive art of Kullu. The craft thrives in two forms- the classical style and the traditional style. Old houses display intricate wooden carvings at the entrance, rooftop, verandas, and pillars. Carvings on pillars depict flowering vines, kings setting out on expeditions, and family deities. Artisans are indulged in making sculptures made of wood according to their local styles. Homewares like wooden vessels and eating bowls are made by artisans that are in huge demand in the global market.
Kashmir Wooden Work
The soft and delicate toned wood of walnut trees is the specialty of Kashmir. The world-famous Papier Mache boxes are made of wood and other products like mashed paper and paper board sheets. Khatambad which is an art of making ceiling, by fitting small pieces of wood obtained from walnut trees are the most preferred design of art connoisseurs for their dwellings.
Uttar Pradesh Wooden Work
A large variety of wood which includes sal, dudhi, sheesham, ebony, etc is used to make wooden crafts of different shapes and sizes. Saharanpur, popularly known as the “sheesham wood village” is home to some of India’s finest wooden carvers. The village is internationally famous for this craft and its carvers who have been creating magic for centuries. Wooden frames, furniture, and toys with ornamental intricate patterns and traditional designs are made by these artisans and exported worldwide.
Andhra Pradesh Wooden Work
The wooden work from Andhra Pradesh owes its history to the various temples and monuments that were built by local and regional kings. Woodwork products include intricate fretwork objects with a rich copper finish from Udayagiri. Craftspeople of Andhra Pradesh make carved wooden toys from leftover pieces of wood. Etikoppaka toys are one such example that is very famous. Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh is known as the “land of toys”, which is prominent in its ancient craft of woodwork.
Rajasthan Wooden Work
The state of Rajasthan is famous for its rich culture and heritage worldwide. Gangaur festival celebrated in Rajasthan takes in use of wood carvings to make Isar and Gauri figures. Pipad, Pali, and Chittorgarh are the districts famed for paper-thin wooden carved bowls. World-famous puppet figures and wooden toys are made by zigzag and dana techniques in Bassi and Udaipur.
Madhya Pradesh Wooden Work
Madhya Pradesh has a large variety of wood carved handicrafts which include wooden chairs, wooden pillars, wooden doors, musical instruments, wood carved boxes, toys, bedposts, and a plethora of various other handicrafts. The tribal people of this region are blessed with great skills and inborn talent for creating beautiful pieces of work using wood. These artisans make use of different kinds of wood like teak, dudhi, sal, kikar, etc. Wood carving is the primary work for the locals and can be found everywhere in the state. Woodcrafts made in the state of Madhya Pradesh are in huge demand in the global market.
Karnataka Wooden Work
Karnataka is another well-known state of India famous for its ancient traditional wood-carved articles. Modern furniture styles make use of the lavish material of sandalwood and rosewood for detailed and artistic carvings. Channapatna holds a significant place in making lacquered wares with the main use of hale wood.
Global Market Trends of Wooden Handicrafts
Let us now discuss some of the significant positive market trends of the global market of wooden handicrafts.
1) Research and Development
The Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) is conducting various market research and developments which is helping the artisans a lot. This research helps artisans in understanding the demand and supply side of the global market.
2) Technical Upgradation
Globalization has solved the problems of developing countries like India in accessing the international market. The benefits provided by the government of India by introducing the National Handicrafts Development Program (NHDP) have been tapped by the artisans. This can be seen from the data of net exports of handicrafts from India, in which woodwares list number one segment in the exports.
3) Meeting Global Market Standards
Most of the woodcrafts are exported to countries like the USA, UK, UAE, and so on. These wooden handicrafts have to meet the safety standards of global markets like EN 71 Standards, CE Mark, Lion Mark, etc. This ensures that woodcrafts exported are of premium quality.
4) Virtual Fairs and Exhibitions
Taking the help of technological advancements, online handicraft trade platforms like Craftezy conduct various trade shows and fairs where buyers and sellers can meet virtually, check out handicrafts, compare options, and negotiate for the best prices. Craftezy handles everything starting from product discovery to sourcing to negotiations and logistics.
5) Government Incentives
The Government of India has increased incentive rates under the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS) from 5% to 7% for handicraft products that will help exporters to recover the input costs involved in the production of handicrafts which will eventually lead to competitive pricing and increase in exports.
Future of the Wooden Handicraft Segment
As per the CISION reports, EPCH reports reveal that the export of handicrafts – specially woodwares – plays a predominant role in the international market and is expected to reach around US$ 984.4 billion by 2023. This shows that this segment of the handicrafts sector has a very bright future and will initiate the growth of this industry in the coming years. The government of India has taken many initiatives for the better functioning of the handicraft industry which is a very positive sign. E-commerce platforms like Craftezy have provided an ultimate platform for both the buyers and the sellers across the world to interact and buy and sell handicrafts without any hassles.