Origin: The secret holding the origin of leather handicraft items is buried in the Indus valley civilization. The origin of this craft can be traced back to the Indus Valley civilization. Even ancient texts mention animal skin. As per tradition, learned sages used to sit on deerskin to meditate.
In Rig Veda (it dates back to 3000 B.C) leather use is mentioned in the form of mashaks for water. Egyptain graves from 300 B.C. hold have leather gauntlets, quivers and jewellery cases.
In the bygone era, men hunted animals for food and used their leather for clothing purposes. Once, human beings domesticated the usage of leather upgraded to footwear, caps, bags, saddles, armor etc.
In Bengal, leather craft has been played with for centuries. It originated in present day Santiniketan
Present Day: Today, the leather craft of West Bengal holds a respectable reputation. The walls of Santiniketan village are vibrating with the manufacturing of leather craft items. These handmade leather craft items are shining with lovely floral, geometric and figurative motifs. At times, different hues are used to enhance the beauty of these handmade craft items.
Even batik work is extensively used to enhance the beauty and create patterns. Some of the leather craft items are Apparels, sandals, shoes, belts, jacket and gloves exhibit unique style and elegance. Fashion accessories are often decorated with precious gemstones and other materials.
Artisans also indulge in leather craving. Carving and braiding on leather are the differentiating factors of Bengal’s leather craft.
The Government of India has also adopted various steps to preserve, encourage and support this craft. A large number of workshops and trainings are organized to polish the skill of artisans.
Procedure: The process of making leather craft items varies from one leather craft item to another. Even today, this skill is passed from one generation to another.
To make a leather handbag, once the leather is tanned its hand rolled using heavy rolling pin. This lends smoothness to the product. Prior to this, leather is hand cut into sections using copious templates. The lining is the glued and leather is stitched together. Now, the straps, buckles and handles are added. Lastly, the bag is painted with mustard seed oil.
Bring Home Leather Craft: To bring home amazing pieces of leather hand-bags, belts, stools visit craft villages of Bengal. Stopover at Santiniketan to buy amazing leather items. The entire Bengal is buzzing with gorgeous leather items