Fading Art in Kashmir

What is so special about Paper machie… that, it is made out of crushed paper?…Nope. It has got a business importance in Kashmir. Sitting home, holding material and colours for art and painting, what could be more fun?

Art is something we produce from inside… on any raw material like canvas, stones, wood even paper…why not?  Paper isn’t totally a raw material, but is made out of crushed pulp of tree.

Then, why not to crush it again to make raw material. Are you thinking what more can be produced then a simple bowl? I say I need to count the number, with my eyes I have seen… vase, elephants, boats, eggs, hangings like Christmas tree and santa clause and much much more, that is called PAPER MACHIE in Kashmir.  

The process doesn’t stop here.

Ever heard of word ‘Naqashi’… You haven’t, I think.

Not more then few people understand what Art of Kashmir mean. Not just the paper crushed things are attractive but with awesome sculpting and delicate turning of hardened paper it’s brilliance becomes brain moulding.  

What makes it more attractive, is the word I used earlier, ‘Naqashi’, painting of carpet designs and the other designs including tiny flowers, nature and Chinar leaves on big  paper-hardened things. It takes a long time, hard concentration and a pair of glasses, last one is for addition. Due to lots of concentration, they really need glasses with span of time. 

Limitless types of it, makes it confusing and lengthy. The colour is based on what value it has got. Would you believe that even real gold can be used on it. Let’s not move to value and colours, since I think the best way of knowing about an art is to find more about it and…understand it.

Final touches are given with varnish, making it shiny and even more attractive under the light of lamp or sun in the workshop. Afterwards people like it like chocolate. It’s not only sold but also exhibited.

One can see a beautiful master piece on the international airport of Mumbai in India, which is designed by Fayaz Ahmad Jan, an Artist of Srinagar, Kashmir. 

Artists who paint ‘Naqashi’ are called ‘Naqash’. With time, the involvement in such type of handicrafts have decreased, since everyone aim of being either doctor or engineer or any other, qualitative types of professionals. 

But what a funny thing that when people have completed their internship or when professionals are retired, they opt for crafts like Paper machie. 

What’s more…crafts like Paper machie wouldn’t have platform if not provided by foreigners who loved these unique pieces at first site.

Also these artists see another version of world in their working hours. It’s fun to be inside the reality of relation between Art and Nature. Nature is in the blood of every Kashmiri. Like wind they move slowly but get refreshments along with them. Art like Paper machie is in their soul and can’t be separated so easily.

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