India is having wide range of arts among them one of greatly known is Lac Art. The Lac art in Rajasthan has been around for centuries. The Lac work from Jodhpur, Udaipur are known for their charming colours and vibrant and flawless finish. Lac work is not only popular for making Jewellery but is also known for building pieces of architecture and decorative items. when Lac work was introduced originally it was used for adorning doors and windows of houses. The work offers excellent finish to the doors and it is easy to make different designs and carvings on Lac.
Indian glass beads are also very popular in designing fashion jewellery with customized choices. They are available in different colour, pattern and variety that has made the glass beads popular across the world. Glass bangles and Glass earrings is also popular. Glass bangles are worn and are famous among every Indian woman.
Over the centuries the art of making lac jewellery and items has evolved and today lac jewellery is available in various shapes, forms and colours. The art of making Lac jewellery and decorative items is very intrinsic. It requires skilled craftsmanship and a lot of precision to create lac jewellery and other items. The process of making lac items is quite complex and tedious but it gives rise to some of the finest pieces of art that are difficult to take your eyes off from.
History of Lac art
The Lac art was originally introduced in Rajasthan in the 18th century. The art was patronized familiarised by Raja of Jaipur Maharaja Ram Singh. He brought artists from the other states and established the Lac art industry in Rajasthan. This art was imported from Persia through the route of Punjab. Since then the craft has been developed by the tribal people in Rajasthan.
The Lac art industry saw a boost after the Second World War and since then several artists have been engaged in this industry. Another fascinating legend that highlights the significance of lac bangles is associated with Shiva and Parvati. It is said that during the wedding of Shiva and Parvati, a community of bangle makers called Lakhera made lac bangles for Parvati. Shiva gifted these bangles to her as a mark of their marriage. Since then, brides and married women are adorned with lac bangles.
Lac work is often compared to the art of coating. However lac art has its own uniqueness and is available in several forms. Best works of lac art can be seen in the lac throne in the 18th century. The throne is preserved by the ex-ruler of Bikaner and exhibits excellent skills of the artists. The Mahabharata mentions the Lakshagriha, which was built by the Kauravas to house the Pandavas. The intention of Kauravan was to burn the Pandavas by setting fire to the Lakshagriha.
Process of Making Lac
Lac is a type of resin extracted from wild trees. In India, an insect called Kerria lacca or the ‘lac insect’ is cultivated for lac production and trees like Dhak, Ber and Kusum are hosts for these insects. The process of designing Lac work and jewellery is very typical and complex. The process involves heating, combining, kneading, hammering and shaping till dough like mass is made. India is one of the largest producers of lac in the world, meeting 60-70 per cent of the world’s lac needs. The states of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh lead in lac production.
In case of making a Lac bangle, the lac is expanded and formed into the required diameter and is thickened accordingly. A toll is used for rolling the bangle to give it the thickness. After this the lac is shaped by moulding it into a groove. The entire process requires a lot of accuracy and skill to give rise to beautiful jewellery. After lac has been moulded it is cleaned, polished and given the final finishing. Lac jewellery at times is adorned with beautiful ass beads and mirror work.
For other pieces of jewellery, lac is poured into dyes of different shapes that are lined with different colours. After the material sets in and cools and dries off it is removed, cleaned and polished to give the final finishing.