Origin: Indus valley civilization holds the key to the secret behind plentiful handicraft items. The origin of leather craft dates back to the Indus valley civilization. Ancient texts are abounding with the mention of animal skin. Ancient sages used to sit on deerskin for meditation.
In the time of Rig-Veda about 3000 B.C., use of leather is mentioned in the form of mashaks for water. Egyptian graves from 300 B.C. 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. Leather craft has been present in Jaipur for more than thousand years.
Present Day: Today, the leather industry has blossomed and has established its footprints in the International Market. The export for leather and leather products has increased dramatically. Thus, the leather industry holds a significant position in the Indian economy. Although the talented artisans have found market outside. The cost of raw materials has also increased.
The markets of Rajasthan are pipped with leather craft items that exhibit great craftsmanship, originality and innovation. Today, the craft items made out of camel are looked up for their durability.
Shoes, jackets, lampshades, pouches, bags, belts, wallets, stuffed toys etc. are some of the immensely popular leather items in the international market. Jaipur and Jodhpur are one stop destination for Mojadi (footwear). Mojadi’s are available in various styles and colours. Bikaner is famed for Kupi (bottle made from camel hide to store oi), musical instruments, lamp shades, shields and vases.
Tilonia village is popular for good craftsmanship and houses admirable designer hand-bags, purses, belts, hats, stools and chairs. The artisans associated with leather craft are famed for their skills to craft wonderful patterns. These patterns find expression in craft.
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 Tilonia village near Ajmer. The entire Rajasthan is buzzing with gorgeous leather items.