The South Asian Life & Times - SALT   
 Summer 2015          



 Summer 2015


 Editor's Note

 Maharaja Duleep

 Nizamuddin Revived

 Nizamuddin Basti

 Sunder Nursery

 Humayun's Tomb

 Nizamuddin Dargah

 Gautam Gambhir

 Kangchenjunga - 60
 Years of 1st Ascent

 Darjeeling & Beyond

 Visual Arts
 India Thru the Lens
 Goa Photo Festival


 Book Reviews
 Balochistan at

 Crafts Atlas of India

 Himalayan Cities

 Kaavad Traditions of

 Indian Troops in

 Rajasthan - exploring
 painted Shekhawati













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Crafts Atlas of India

By Jaya Jaitly


500 pages; All colour

520 photographs; maps & drawings

Published by Niyogi Books

₹4500 /£90 /$145


Jaya Jaitly has been the face of Indian crafts for several decades. Her craft maps for each state of India were a labour of love and sheer aesthetic joy.

Crafts Atlas of India takes the documentation of India’s rich and unmatched craft heritage to another level. It took Jaitly 11 years to create the 500-page tome - a piece of phenomenal research. Lavishly illustrated, the book is a lot more than just an atlas – it gives the political and cultural history of each state and explains how the historical path influenced the creativity, culture and the arts of the region. It is also an encyclopaedia of different crafts ranging from basket weaving, handlooms, metalcraft, folk art, pottery, woodwork to the dying art of paper cutting. “The ancient art of paper cutting called Sanjhi, practised in Mathura and Brindavan, revolves around the culture of the temples in the area dedicated to Krishna and Radha.”

There are interesting accounts of rituals and traditions surrounding different works of art – as the Sanjhi wall paintings in Haryana. “The Sanjhi deity represents the nine main goddesses of Hindu tradition. They are – Lakshmi, Kali, Parvati, Ambica, Vaishno, Gauri, Saraswati, Ramba, and Jagdamba.” The making of the deity and its worship happens during Navratra, the nine-day festival before Dussehra.

 The text is broadly divided into regions – north, south, east, west, and central – and each region further sub-divided into the states it covers. The chapter on Delhi, especially Chandni Chowk, was particularly fascinating. The author goes into minute details about this intriguing Mughal Quarter and its numerous alleys that specialise in some form of craft – be it silver jewellery, embroidery, paper embossing etc.

 The book is almost magical in its artwork by the Dastkari Haat Samiti, an association founded by the author to document, organise and help India’s crafts people.

 It is no mean achievement to document the overwhelming variety of arts and crafts in India. Jaya Jaitly has accomplished a seminal work of art. The book, packed with informative text, is a visual treat.

 The only two drawbacks in the book were the inability to read the text on the maps, and on some of the pages with colour background.

 Otherwise, a collector’s item for all craft aficionados.


 Read the entire article in the print edition of The South Asian Life & Times



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