Sindh Handicrafts

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With striking color combinations, Traditional Embroideries, Exquisite Designs and Awesome Materials, Sindh Crafts continues to allure people whole exhibition the 5000-Year old tradition. Presenting the traditional Sindhi Craft with innovative style, “Promoting Indigenous Handicraft of Sindh”

Ralli

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Asia has been known throughout history as a place that produced beautiful textiles. The art of producing cotton fabric was first perfected by the ancient South Asians as well as the processes of dying and printing fabric. The Romans even sent traders to ancient India to get fine fabrics for their togas.

Women in the Indus Region of the Indian subcontinent make beautiful quilts with bright colors and bold patterns. The quilts are called “Ralli” (or rilli, rilly, rallee or rehli) derived from the local word ralanna meaning to mix or connect. Rallis are made in the southern provinces of Pakistan including Sindh, Baluchistan and in the Cholistan desert on the southern border of Punjab as well as in the adjoining states of Gujarat and Rajasthan in India. Muslim and Hindu women from a variety of tribes and castes in towns, villages and also nomadic settings make rallis. Quilt making is an old tradition in the region perhaps dating back to the fourth millennium BC judging by similar patterns found on ancient pottery.

Rallis are commonly used as a covering for wooden sleeping cots, as a floor covering, storage bag, or padding for workers or animals. In the villages, ralli quilts are an important part of a girl’s dowry. Owning many ralli quilts is a measure of wealth.

Rallis are made from scraps of cotton fabric dyed to the desired color. The most common colors are white, black, red and yellow or orange with green, dark blue or purple. For the bottoms of the rallis, the women use old pieces of tie-dye, ajrak or other shawl fabric. Ralli quilts have a few layers of worn fabric or cotton fibers between the top and bottom layers. The layers are held together by thick colored thread stitched in straight lines. The women sit on the ground and do not use a quilting frame.

The number of patterns used on ralli quilts seems to be almost endless, as there is much individual expression and spontaneity in color within the traditional patterns. The three basic styles of rallis are:

  1. Patchwork made from pieces of cloth torn into squares and triangles and then stitched together,
  2. Applique made from intricate cut out patterns in a variety of shapes and
  3. Embroidered quilts where the embroidery stitches form patterns on solid colored fabric.

A distinguishing feature of ralli patterning in patchwork and applique quilts is the diagonal placement of similar blocks as well as a variety of embellishments including mirrors, tassels, shells and embroidery.

History of Ralli

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A normal Ralli Quilt is a textile jewel finished with physical and spiritual labour or done with hand and mind putting in almost 180 hours, 10800 minutes or 648,000 seconds of labour by a woman artisan. In ancient Indus civilization, a Ralli Quilt was also a textile currency like other valuables. Woman starts making Ralli Quilts in early age as part of their dowry. The poor artisans used to make Ralli Quilt as gifts for the occasion of marriages and births of the elite families. In return, they were given a buffalow, a cow or a goat as Kheer Piyarini or to provide a permanent milk source for the artisans family. This tradition continues in Sindh, especially in Thar Desert too. Ralli Quilts is an initiative launched in cooperation with some Fair Trade Shops in the world to give an international exposure to the illiterate artisans living in stark poverty conditions in villages dotting the desert. The textile craft lovers can now order the Ralli Quilt artisans living thousands of miles away to make a dream piece for them while sitting in their offices or homes. It is just a rebirth of Kheer Piyarini tradition. You can order now Ralli Quilt Gift Sets for a baby before his birth or for the wedding of your loved ones. Let the Thar Desert artisans also share this beautiful world.

Glass Bangles

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Glass Bangle has been customary and traditionally in use since more than three hundred years in the sub-continent (Indo-Pak).

In India its manufacturing was started in the late 19th century in a town called ’’FIROZABAD” It is also said that people breath not air, but glass. It is located in North central India in western Uttar Paradesh state 40 KM from Agra and around 200 KM from New Delhi. In the ancient period it was know as “GHANDWAR NAGAR”.

In the start glass bangle manufacturing was hand process, but with the passage of time. It has passed different phases.

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The glass bangles are being commonly used religiously in Hindu, Buddha and Muslim womens of Asia in general and Indo-Pak in particular.

Normally the thin, decorative & colourful glass bangles & women can not separated with each other. The women of SAARC member countries use glass bangles frequently.

Ceramics (History and Background of Ceramics)

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The history of pottery is as old as 1500 BC dawn of Neolithic age. The history also reveals that putter’s wheel was introduced and used for to produce. Patterns items. With the passage of time the pace of development continued and present ceramic items are the latest crafts of Sindh.

The pottery and is also recognized and named as “KASHI” Which entered in Sindh in 15th century from Iran and Turkey. The Islamic touches may also be seen in Bahmbore items (722 AD) which also consider as the part of this cluster & history.

To promote and to keep alive the ceramic crafts the Sindh Small Industries Corp. (551C) has established a ceramic Training cum production centre in the year 1991 at Nasarpur District, Matiyari which is located 48 KM northeast of the city and houses of the tomb of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai the great Sindhi Sufi saint. The town is also fame for its Handicrafts including Lacquer work. Glazed pottery, sussi and Ajrak (hand loom cloth) and embroidery.

Raw Material of Ceramics

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The following raw-material is being used in the production ceramic production.

  1. River Clay Local from other District
  2. Colour -do-
  3. Coating Clay -do-
  4. Red Saud -do-
  5. Red Leads -do-
  6. Cobalt Oxide -do-
  7. Copper Oxide -do-
  8. Plaster of Paris -do-
  9. Borax -do-
  10. Sindur -do-
  11. Soda -do-
  12. Wood -do-
  13. Silica -do-
  14. Colour imported

Blue Pottery

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It is well known fact and inconformity to the past history the use of blue colour was common and still liking by the customers, Nasarpur & Hala are the main centres where the blue pottery is still in production, small units are engaged in manufacturing pottery product & tiles. Which is specialty of the area In Nasarpur there are around 17 artisans.

Further more Hala is an other centre which is very much famous in the sub-continent in art of pottery, wood work, cloth printing, woven cloth Suti & Khadi in colour full designs. In Hala 55 artisans are working in 4 different production houses earning Rs.3, 000/- to Rs. 15,000/- PM. As the unit are locating in residence hence the woman labour is also sharing in production. They are producing 14,400/- different items annually. Which are Guldan, Box, Hot pot, Wall pieces, Gamla, Tables and marketing it in Hala, Bhit Shah, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur & Islamabad.

In Nasarpur the artisan earn Rs. 3,000/- to 4,000/- per month depending upon their skill, experience and expertise. None of the lady worker is involved in this skill.

History of Ajrak

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The name of Ajrak is derived from “Azrak” which means “Blue” in Persian & Arabic.

It is a textile item with rich crimson & deep indigo. It relates with the ancient civilization of Indus valley. The civilization was found its existence around 1500 BC to 2500 BC.

While excavation of Mohenjodaro. A kind priest was found with a shawl around his shoulders, decorated with a trefoil pattern (like a three leafed clover) with small circles and the interior of which with red pigment. Similar trefoil pattern has been discovered in Mesopotamia and also on the royal of Tutankhamen (of the ancient pharaohs).

The combination of three colors is a symbol of three sun disks to-gether to represent unity of god’s of the Sun, Water & Earth. It also reflects in the current / modern Ajrak.

Defination of Ajrak

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Ajrak is an un-avoidable part of clothing culturally inherited by males of Sindh province. Normally men wear it around the shoulder, where as female use it as Dupatta / Chaddar as shawls. Ajrak is usually around 2.5 to 3 meter piece of cotton sheeting / silk sheeting (some time in two parts) duly hand block printed in mostly three dominating colours where as a little black and white is also used to define geometric pattern.

In Sindh Ajrak is also offered as token of high respect to the guest. Further more ajrak also place on the caffen of departed persons as taken of respect from society. It is extensively used as gift on happy & sorrow occasions.

Geographic Location

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Now a days Bhit shah, Khyber, Matiyari, Matli, Tando Mohammad Khan are the main and well known centres in which artisans are settled and engaged in the production.

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