The state of Orissa boasts of a strong ethnic handicrafts industry. It has, infact, carved out a niche for itself in the spheres of appliqué work, metallurgy, silver filigree, stone and wood carving, etc. An interesting aspect about the handicrafts of Orissa is that they are directly or indirectly linked to the elaborate rituals observed in context of Lord Jagannath, the presiding deity of the world famous temple at Puri.
The technique of appliqué embodies artistically superimposing
cut patches of cloth on top of, or alongside, each other. A base fabric
is also used, which is normally very colorful. The use of tiny mirrors
in such work is very common and provides a vibrant look to the end
products. Appliqué work can be done on bedspreads, pillow covers,
etc. This form of handicraft is very popular throughout the state of
If one judges by the number of craftsmen engaged in the making of a
particular craft, then dokra or brass and bell metal handicrafts will
perhaps turn out to be single most important ones in Orissa. Under the
category of Dokra crafts, one can find a number of items like figurines,
containers with lids, lamp stands, etc. Most of these are inspired by
the folk culture of the state. A lot of dokra crafts are also exported
However, the queen of all handicrafts made in Orissa is the silver
filigree, locally known as tarakasi. The town of Cuttack and few other
villages in its district are renowned for their silver filigree items.
The method consists of drawing silver through a number of small holes to
make thin wires. These silver wires are then given desired shapes and
designs and soldered with pincer and scissors by the craftsmen.
It must be apparent from the numerous ancient monuments, caves and
temples in Orissa that the art of stone carving here is very old.
Contrary to the sculptors of other places, the ones in Orissa are adept
at working with varied materials like soapstone, chlorite, black granite
and so on. The same is the case with wood carving in Orissa. A variety
of crafts like wooden bowls, incense holder, photo frames and so on are
made at the Cuttack town and neighboring areas.