Origin: No one knows when and where Lac crafts originated. This mysterious secret is hidden in history. However, the earlier traces of this craft have been visible in old excavations with lac coated materials, which are as old as 1600 B.C. Lac is a resin extracted from wild trees and plant and is mostly found in the Asian countries. The term lac is derived from the English word which means a large number of insects (1 lac or 100 thousand) which are required to produce a pound of lac.
Present Day: Lac crafts of Bihar are very famous because the local people of this state have huge accessibility and availability to the raw material and forest. One of the most popular and traditional items of lac handicrafts of Bihar is the round conical box. In Hindu tradition, at the time of marriage, this box is gifted by the bride’s parents with a nose ring. It is decorated with interesting symbols of fertility and longevity inscribed on the box. It is usually in red colour.
Lace handicraft is famous for its vibrancy and availability in vivid bright colours. Lac bangles are world known and are considered very important as an ornament. There is another very popular item of this handicraft called Sindurdan or Vermilion container. This decorative piece is made by community called Laheris. There are another artistic pieces like Lampshades, serving bowls, bangles, push carts, utility boxes. The utility boxes are embellished with different motifs. The motifs are in the form of flowers, Indian motifs, animals, geometric patterns etc.
The lac crafts of Bihar is predominantly into manufacturer of bridal bangles. They make use of vibrant colours like pink, flaming orange, brilliant vermilion and regal purple. The different jewellery items made are necklaces, bangles, earrings and beautiful jewellery boxes. Other useful products are pen, pen-stand, coasters, napkin holders, mirrors, key chain, photo frame and ashtrays etc. These bangles are also known as tribal jewelry.
Procedure: The northern region of Bihar is concentrated with Lac manufacturing industries and artists. The resin is collected by insects. Lac art is used in making a lot of products, the most important use is jewellery making. The lac bangles have an inner-core which is covered by a thin layer of better quality coloured lac. The dry ingredients are mixed together, heated, kneaded and pounded with a hammer. This process is repeated till the dough is made for manufacturing.
The process of designing Lac work is very tedious and time consuming. The major steps involved in the process are heating, combining, kneading, hammering and shaping till we get a dough. When the Lac bangles are made, the lac is expanded with heat and circular shapes are made as per required diameter and thickness. A roller is used to roll the bangle to achieve desired thickness. Then it is moulded for the correct shape use a moulder.
Tourists visiting India always buy souvenirs and they are highly fascinated by Lac items and jewellery. Lac items are also exported across the world by Craffi The Karigar. They have huge demand in Countries like USA, UK, UAE, France etc. They also use different glass beads, mirrors, decorative wires, gold foil etc.
Bring Home Lac Handicrafts: You can buy this jewellery from the local markets of Bihar.