Punjab has a rich tradition of arts and crafts. The richness of the land is reflected in its handicraft. The people of Punjab lay much importance on their artistry and the minute details of their work. You get to see their skill woven even into the footwear, daily dresses, carpets and almost every other thing. The artistic creations of Punjab are acclaimed all over the world. The skilled and dexterous artisans of the state produce a variety of handicrafts and even the rural women have a major contribution in the production of these fascinating art works. Mud work is a famous rural practice in Punjab, prevalent from the ancient times. It is a trend in Punjab to mud-plaster the walls of the house and then, create motifs and designs on the mudded walls.
Metalwork is also very popular in Punjab. Utensils made of metals are used in households, as also for religious purposes. Carpenters in the state make Peeras or Peerians, decorative boxes, pidhis and toys of wood, which are very popular in the whole of North India. Thin straws of glass are used for basketry works, which is another Punjabi craft that is immensely popular. Mats, rugs, carpets, curtains and hand fans are woven using these straws. Embroidery is another extensively followed work of art, known in the state by various local names. Phulkari, an intricate needle work, is extremely popular and is mainly taken up by village girls. There are many other handicrafts specific to the place, with the most popular ones being described in this section.
Basketry in Punjab
Basketry is a longstanding handicraft followed in most parts of Punjab. Mostly, the womenfolk in villages are oriented towards basketry as a means of employment. Initially, these baskets were predominantly used for household purposes.
Durries of Punjab
Durries are the flat woven rugs that are functional as well as striking in nature. They are used either as carpets on the floor or as bed sheets. What makes them distinct from the normal carpet and the bedcover is the intricate blend of artistic designs.
Folk Toys of Punjab
Folk toys of Punjab are the products of the perfect amalgamation of artistry and social values. The earliest handmade toys of Punjab can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization, from 2500 to 1700 BC. Among the most prominent toys of Indus Valley Civilization is the exceptionally large number of small terracotta carts.
Juttis of Punjab
Punjabi juttis represent the traditional footwear of Punjab, which is known worldwide for its exquisite design and intricate pattern. It can be described as a traditional Indian shoe, which some other states like Rajasthan and Haryana also manufacture.
Mud Works of Punjab
Mud work is an ancient handicraft of Punjab, which is popular in the state till date. It marks the zenith of Punjabi creativity, in turning out dull objects into masterpieces of art. Punjabis have a special art called Chowk-Poorna, which involves the plastering of the house walls with mud and then decorating them with eye-catching designs.
In the grand collection of Punjabi arts and crafts, one name that deserves a mention is the mural paintings and frescoes. These types of paintings are mainly done on permanent surfaces like walls, ceiling, gates etc. Punjabi people, by nature are lively and juvenile.
Paranda is one of the traditional handicrafts of Punjab. It is a colorful hanging worn by the Punjabi women in their hair. Most of the Punjabi women have long hair, which they plait and then tie a paranda at the end. Parandis are available with a great variety in designs and colors. They are made out of a bunch of silk threads, intricately woven with other skillful works.
'Phulkari’, literally meaning the flower working, is designed to enhance the beauty of attire. It is an art form, in which exquisite embroidery is done over shawls, dupattas and headscarves, in a simple and sparse design. In some cases, the entire cloth is covered with dense designs, so that the ground cloth becomes invisible.
Punjab has a rich tradition of weaving and embroidery, which is very popular all over the world. Embroidery is the form of art wherein fabrics are decorated using needle and colorful thread or yarn. This has a tempting attraction owing to the different fancy materials it uses, like pearls, small mirrors, beads, quills, sequins, etc.
Punjab is well known for its artistic woodwork. Punjabi carpenters are highly skilled in making strong, durable and at the same time, visually attractive furniture. Their specialty lies in making a creative bed that has the back fitted with mirrors and has beautifully carved, colorful legs called pawas.