Indian Leather Art

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leather

Leather crafts are one of the most ancient forms of art practiced in India. Indian leather crafts are a perfect mixture of style, tradition and culture. With the advancement, forms of leathercraft evolved and now there are numerous types of leathercraft produced in different parts of India. Each form of leathercraft is unique and attractive. As the name suggests, painted leather crafts are the art form which involves making of clothes, bags, showpiece made of leather on which paint is applied.

Indian leathercraft is not only popular in India, but also have gained popularity outside India and have occupied a special place in international markets.

indian painted leather bags

Historical Background –

The history of leathercraft dates back to the times of early human when men realized that animal skin and the bark of the tree can be used as clothing. With the development of civilization, the leathercraft also developed. Many evidences show that People wore clothes made by Leather even in the Indus valley civilization. During the time of Indus valley civilization, leather was painted by natural colours but today’s modern leathercraft is made by painting them with artificial colours and dyes. In ancient times, leather crafts were only famous in tribal areas and villages. Later on, painted leathercraft found its way into cities. Today, painted leathercraft has turned into a commercial item. A lot of things like footwears, bags, clothing, and purses are made using painted leathercraft.

Regions This Art is Still Practiced – 

Various forms of painted leather crafts are practiced in different parts of India. The famous regions where this craft form is practiced are:

  • A) Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh is famous for its leatherwork. Beautiful leather puppets are one of the specialties of Andhra’s painted leathercraft.

andhra painted leather puppets

  • B) Maharashtra

The city is Kolhapur is famous for its leather work. The Kolhapuri chappal from Kolhapur is one world famous. They are made up of leather. It is an ingenious style of footwear which is appreciated all over the world.

kolhapuri leather chappals

  • C) Madhya Pradesh

Indore and Gwalior in Madhaya Pradesh are also famous for their painter leatherwork. The embroidered painted leathercraft and statues made by leather from this region is famous all over India.

horses made by leather

  • D) Rajasthan

Rajasthan is also famous for its painted leatherwork. Leather footwear and bags from Rajasthan gain a lot of attention from both Indian and Foreigner tourists. The painted leathercraft is decorated by beautiful embroidery work which includes beads, silk and metal elements. Jaisalmar and Bikaner are two cities in Rajasthan where this craft is practiced.

rajasthani leather chappal

  • E) West Bengal

West Bengal has its own form of painted leather craft which is also known as Shantiniketan embossed leathercraft. This style has been developed in Shantiniketan region and is still practiced there.

shantiniketan leather art

How Painted LeatherCraft is Made –

1.Gathering materials

gathering materials for painted leather art

2.Tooling or making designs

tooling for painted leather art

3.The first round of painting

first round of painting - painted leather craft

4.Drying

drying up of painted leather craft

5.Darkening of colours

darkening of colours - painted leather craft

6.Making borders

drying of colours - painted leather craft

7.Sheening

sheening process - painted leather craft

8.Applying of antique 

applying of antiques - painted leather craft

Painted Leathercrafts –

Articles such as clothing, footwear, decorative items are the most important articles made by leather. In today’s modern era, painted leather crafts are used for making leather coats and jackets. Leather shoes are always in trend. Traditional objects such as puppets are still made by painted leathercraft. Painted leathercraft is not only an art today, but it also has a lot of commercial importance. A lot of items made using painted leathercraft are exported to various foreign countries where they are sold at high prices. So they are commercially important too. With its popularity increasing day by day, the art is going modern and a daily new form of painted leathercraft is evolving.

painted leather art - mobile covers

Conclusion –

Today painted leathercraft has taken a successful commercial form and now it’s not just an art today. It also represents Indian culture and tradition. Painted leathercraft is very famous in both rural and urban parts of India. Painted leathercraft evolved into many new forms with the passage of time. Different parts of India have developed painted leathercraft into different art forms where they are known by different names. The painted leather craft of India is popular in foreign countries also where they are sold at high prices. A large variety of articles are made by painted leathercraft today which have increased its commercial importance. So we can say that painted leathercraft is an art form which is not only traditionally and culturally important but is commercially important too.