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Home » Handicrafts Of Kashmir » Papier Mache Of Kashmir

Papier Mache Of Kashmir

Papier Mache Of Kashmir

Papier Mache Of Kashmir

At first glance, all papièr mâchè objects look roughly the same, but there is a price differential which depends on the quality of the product. However, besides at least three different grades of papièr mâchè, some are actually cardboard or wood! The idea, however, is not to hoodwink the unwary, but to provide a cheaper product with the look of papièr mâchè.

To make papièr mâchè, first paper is soaked in water till it disintegrates. It is then pounded, mixed with an adhesive solution, shaped over moulds, and allowed to dry and set before being printed and varnished. Paper that has been pounded to pulp has the smoothest finish in the final product. When the pounding has not been so thorough, the finish is less smooth.

The designs painted on objects of papièr mâchè are brightly coloured. They vary in artistry and the choice of colours, and it is not difficult to tell a mediocre piece from an excellent one. Gold is used on most objects, either as the only colour, or as a highlight for certain motifs. Besides the finish of the product, it is the quality of gold used which determines the price. Pure gold leaf, which has an unmistakable lustre, is far more expensive than bronze dust or gold poster paint. Varnish, which is applied to the finished product, imparts a high gloss and smoothness, and increases with every coat applied.

Papier Machie is one of the most popular of crafts practised in Kashmir. The tradition of the Kashmir Papier Machie has its origin rooted in the 15th century when king Zain-ul-Abidin invited accomplished artists and craftsmen from Central Asia.
A French term so commonly adopted in East and West and meaning "mashed paper" papier machine is in fact a unique combination of line and colour on moulded forms of a variety of objects. It involves ornamentation in colour over smoothened surfaces built up of paper pulp or layers of paper. Paper pulp is not always found effective and is some times replaced by other substitutes.

The colours painted on object are made from pigments diluted in water to which some glue is added to fix the ground on which it is used. The three categories of colours are -- mineral (both actual and artificial) organic (both plants insects etc.) Vegetables. The final objects papier machie is given one or two coats of varnish which besides giving it shine serves as a protective agent.

Important designs and motifs in papier machie designs are:
Gulander Gul (flower in flower) Hazara (the thousand flowers) Gul Vilayat (the dear flower) Miniature Mugal paints Mythological figures Animals Hunting scenes Battle Scenes The product range covers ring boxes, pill boxes, boxes of assorted shapes and sizes, flower vases, wall plaques, bowls, ashtrays, screens etc.