The Fascination Towards Indian Artifacts

Metal Artifacts India

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India has one of the most diverse and ancient traditions of cultural products, and its artifacts industry is an important economic and cultural asset. According to the Twelfth Five Year Plan, the production is expected to double between 2012 and 2017 and exports are projected to grow at the compounded annual rate of 18% during the same period. As a result, the craft sector will employ an additional 10% of individuals per year up to that time. Crafts including artifacts constitute one of the primary sub-sectors within Creative and Cultural Industries, defined by UNESCO as “industries which produce tangible or intangible artistic and creative outputs, and which have a potential for wealth creation and income generation through the fostering of cultural assets and the production of knowledge-based goods and services.

India is a treasure trove of natural resources and probably India has the largest granite deposit in the world. India accounts for 25 per cent of the total reserves of marble, granite and stone slate. India possesses 1,619 million cubic metres of deposit, comprising 160 shades of stone. At present, we are utilising only 3 per cent of the available resources and there is much more to explore as far as the stone industry in India is concerned. States such as Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Haryana are leading in the production of natural stone. There is a huge potential for development in states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Gujarat and many other states in North-East India. Karnataka has a long history of production and export of granite in the country. Unfortunately, the export of natural stone has come down drastically because of retrograde policies.


According to government estimates, India exported handicrafts including artifacts worth Rs.23,504.42 crore (about $3.8 billion) in FY 2013-14. According to Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH), Indian handicrafts exports have increased 38.22% in Rupee terms and 24.25% in USD terms in FY 2013-14 over the previous year. In line with the average growth of 15% annual growth rate in the last decade, it is expected that handicrafts exports will increase to around $4.4 billion in FY2014-15.



Image Source: Dhokra Art


Some popular categories of Indian artifacts are:

  • Metal Craft: This process involves molding of soft metals like silver, brass, copper and gold into a consummate range of artifacts like jewellery, statuettes, and utensils. This type of handicraft is typical of Assam, Bihar, Tamilnadu, Orissa, West Bengal, Kerala and Kashmir.
  • Stone Craft: This form of handicraft involves molding of various stones through grinding, cutting and finally polishing them into varied forms of stoneware, candle stands, lampshades etc., a hallmark of the handicrafts of Bihar, Varanasi, Tamil Nadu, Agra and Vrindavan.

Metal Surface Decorations: This range of handicrafts popularly known as Bidri involves extensive use of appliqué inlays and overlays. The surface is generally covered with gold and silver inlays. The technique of ‘Enameling’ also falls under this category of handicrafts involving metal surfaces first coated with colour layers followed by complex etchings on these layers.

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