Carved Wooden Treasure


Wooden Treasure of Gujarat

Serene Sense of majesty in a wooden form gives one the feeling of being in a richly decorated forest glade. Wood as a medium is closest to nature and has an inherent organic quality about it. Wood always has had a magical affect be it totem effigies to ward off spirits, carved columns of grand palaces and temples or the sweet soul wrenching aroma of sandalwood, wood is mankind’s heartbeat to nature. A variety of different kinds of carving on wood has been historically carried out in Gujarat. Delicately carved, trellised jharokhas(balconies) with magnificent façade in wood adorn Havelis belonging to the trading communities of Ahmedabad. Wood along with mortar found a means of architectural expression since the beginning of the eleventh century. This glorification of wood as a medium permeating every aspect of Gujarati life, became widespread through the import of Burma teak. Though wood carving has over centuries developed into a high art, timber has always flowed in from outside the state. Wood has served loyally as a source for building edifices, carving out household goods and furnishings and providing the backbone for a thriving ship building industry. The intricate skill required in carving a building facade percolated in the flowering of block making leading to masterpieces in textile printing. While intricately delicate work is chiseled on imported wood, local harder varieties are also being explored by suthaars or carpenters and wood carvers across the state. While the grain and inner quality of wood is richly explored by artisans, wood products are also embellished and coated through various techniques such as veneer, lacquer and Marquetry adding a rich patina to the glorification of wood. Wood is crafted into a treasure trove ranging from boxes, tools and implements to furniture, doors and window frames to toys, bullock carts and accessories.