Papier-mache art of Kashmir

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Context:

  • The credit goes to the Shia community of Kashmir for keeping alive papier mache art — colourful, exquisite, highly decorative and delicate — in the Valley since the 14th century.

About Papier Mache

  • Papier-mâché is a composite material consisting of paper pieces or pulp, sometimes reinforced with textiles, bound with an adhesive, such as glue, starch, or wallpaper paste.
  • It is prepared using two main methods
    • The first method makes use of paper strips glued together with adhesive.
    • The other method uses paper pulp obtained by soaking or boiling paper to which glue is then added.
  • It has been used in Ancient Egypt, Persia, China, Japan, India, America and Europe.
  • Historians believe that papier mache became popular as an art in the 15th century.

About Papier mache art

  • Papier mache art has two stages
    • Fashioning the base product from the pulp of paper into the desired form is called Sakhtsazi.
    • The painting process done over it is called Naqashi.
  • Paper is soaked, disintegrated and made into a pulp by adding cloth, paddy straw and copper sulphate.
  • An adhesive called ‘Atij’ made from rice is also used.
  • The pulp is called ‘Sakhta’.
  • The pulp is given shape and form using moulds.
  • It is dried and cut out of the moulds. The moulds formed are called ‘Kalib’.
  • It is then smoothened using coats of lacquer. The application of lacquer is called Pishlawun.
  • It is then polished using a ‘kirkut’ (a small piece of over burnt brick or pumice stone).
  • It is pasted with layers of tissue paper, on which a base colour and designs are applied.
  • The object is then sandpapered or burnished and is finally painted with several coats of lacquer.
  • The paper mache were used to make coffins and death masks in Egypt, small painted boxes, trays, étagères and cases in Persia.
  • In Japan and India, papier-mâché was used to add decorative elements to armor and shields.
  • It remains highly marketed in India and is a part of the luxury ornamental handicraft market.

Source:TH & Wikipedia