Papier Mache of Goa

Origin:  In the 2nd century, during Han dynasty, Chinese invented paper. Few years down the line, they developed papier mache pulp. 

In the 8th century, during Chinese-Persian war, the technique of developing papier mache pulp landed in Arab.  Soon it spread to Morocco, France, Italy and Germany. From Italy it travelled to India and Persia. In the 17th century, papier mache was for the first time used to make money. The brains behind this were French who took inspiration from the Chinese and Japanese papier mache imports.

The 18th and 19th century saw Persian craftsmen crafting papier mache plates, mirror cases, toys and pencil boxes. Indian handicraft experts also started creating similar products employing Florentine style. Taj Mahal showcases such design elements. 

The meaning of the term papier mache is crushed paper. The word Papier Mache is derived from a French word meaning chewed paper or mashed paper.

Present Day: Today, a large range of papier mache products are crafted such as flower vases, ring boxes, bowls, pill boxes, trays, boxes in varied shapes and sizes, wall plaques, ashtrays, lamp vases, candle stands, frames, bangles, mirrors, steel trays, glasses etc.  This technique has also found expression in metal items such as brass and copper. 

In 2014, during Ganesh Chaturthi, papier mache was creatively used to create environment friendly idols. Papier mache idols are gaining immense popularity in Goa. 

Procedure: The process of fashioning Papier Mache objects has two distinctive categories known as Sakhtsazi and Naqashi. Sakhtsazi (making of the product) is basically collecting the raw materials such as water, waste paper, cloth, rice straw, copper sulphate, clay, newspaper, plaster of Paris, flour, glue, paint, paint brush, waste cloth, bowl etc. 

Water, waste paper, cloth, rice straw and copper sulphate are then crushed into pulp. Pulp is then put into different moulds to achieve the desired shapes. 

Similarly, pulp layers are added to achieve the desired thickness. Then the product is let to dry and layers of adhesive are applied. Following this, it is smoothed with the help of a stone.

Naqashi (painting of the object) is primarily beautifying the product. It includes designing, drawing, brushing, painting, adding intricacy and motifs. Drawings are created using zarda (yellow colour) also known as demarcation of the object. Then it’s brushed with brushes made of real goat hair, cat hair and donkey hair. The colours (organic or vegetable source) used for painting are derived from diluting pigment in water with some glue to fix it on to the object. Motifs include flowers, birds like Kingfisher and bulbul, historical facts and figures, animals, war battles, court room drama etc. The influence behind these designs are miniature paintings. 

The most popular patterns or motifs are Hazara (thousand flowers), Gulgandergul (Flower within a flower), Gul Vilayat (dear flower), Chinar Leaf, the Iris flower, Roses, Cherry Blossom flower, Tulips, lilies and different varieties of flowers. The final objects of papier mache are varnished to give them shine and it also act as a protective layer.

Bring Home Papier Mache of Goa: To buy beautiful pieces of papier mache, stop by at Panjim in Goa

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