Art textile, brass/ bell metal works, horn works and silver filigree are the crafts approved by the Directorate of Handicrafts and Cottage Industries, Odisha and also by Handicrafts Industries of Cuttack.
The art textiles are characterized by bold and unusual patterns, beautiful blend of colours and luxuriant textures having an individuality of their own. The weavers of Cuttack produce sarees and other fabrics in beautiful designs and colours using the hand operated looms. The distinctive feature of Odisha textile industry is the ‘Ikat’ design. This design which finds its ancient linkages with the maritime activities of South-East Asia is an intricate process of tie and dye.
Brass/ bell metal works
Bell metal-ware occupies a pride place in Odisha’s history. The artisans of brass and bell metal are traditionally called ‘Kansari’. They propagate ancient and modern methods of manufacturing utensils and decorative items which are of traditional shapes. These items are used in temples and houses for religious and other purposes. Every brass and bell metal utensil with its shape and metal composition has got its own characteristic and is known for its cooking and medicinal properties.
Mystical and awe-inspiring, richly textured and finely fashioned from the horns of animals, the hand crafted horn works are a class apart. The horns that are mostly from buffaloes and cows, require a high degree of skill and imagination in application. The artisans who excel in this art have used the specific texture of this material to mould all sorts of objects with a marvelous degree of fluidity of movement. The craftsmen of Cuttack skillfully fashion horns into birds arrested in flight, animals of prey caught prowling, bulls fighting, fish-guzzling cranes, deers nuzzling their young and elephants rolling logs. Combs, pen stands, pipes, lamp-stands etc are some of the minor articles that these craftsmen produce.
Chariot Filigree is a unique craft. It has its own intricate designs and superb craftsmanship. Cuttack District has a long tradition of meticulous and sophisticated craftsmanship in silver filigree works. Locally known as ‘Tarakasi’, the silver filigree of Cuttack is noted for its delicateness and intricate workmanship. The art is ancient which has its origin in Persian countries since 15th century. This craft had sufficient patronage during the Moghul period but subsequently suffered for lack of encouragement and marketing facilities. Most of the artisans engaged in the trade had to seek other avenues for their livelihood under difficult conditions. In 1952, the State Govt. took a bold step to ameliorate the conditions of these artisans by bringing them into co-operative fold.
There are three categories of filigree crafts, such as Rose work, Siko work and Jari work in making filigree articles. Filigree work is distinguished from other ornaments and jewellery by excellent finish, fine foils, textures and snowy glaze. That is why they are presented as gifts to persons of national and international eminence visiting the state. Decorative pieces of Lord Krishna’s chariot, Konark Chakra and variety of other eye catching and spectacular silver ornaments are a craze among the modern fashion loving people.