Wooden Lac craft of Punjab


Wooden Lacquer ware in Punjab is practiced mainly in three centers now - Hoshiarpur, Batala Quadian in Batala district and Jullunder. Each known for its own speciality. Earlier Punjab was known for the cloud work locally called abri on wood. In this, on a yellow coating the surface to be lacquered is touched intermittently with a red stick. The stick makes an irregular colored pattern as it revolves, around which a black border is drawn. The interstices are then filled with white to produce a cloud effect. Several variations were possible. Amritsar and Jalandhar were well known for their lacquered furniture with bold and pronounced designs. Legs for beds, divans, and purple colored lac boxes were made here. The work is now mainly done in Jullunder in the nakashi style where the surface is engraved using needles so that the design shows up in a variety of colors. This layered lac-coating of Jalandhar uses different colors from those of Hoshiarpur thus distinguishing further between them The kharadi, lathe turner community of Hoshiarpur make turned wooden furniture, ornamented with motifs etched on to the lac coating. Different components of the furniture are turned on power lathes and the rotating pieces are coated with multiple layers of lac after which a sharp metal stylus is used to etch motifs, revealing the underlying colors. Earlier purple lac was popular but has now fallen into disuse. With white, black and red popularly used now and coated on to the turned wood in the same order of coloring. Yellow is occasionally added as well though usually only three layers of color are used. With experimentation there are new colors using white on a reddish base. And other such variations. The products include boxes, chairs, containers, the low stool/Peedi and other objects.

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