Crafts and Cultural Art of Asia
The culture of Asia is so rich that it often becomes difficult to keep up with all the trending handicraft and cultural art pieces it acquires. From the finest woodwork to the most stellar metal and brass work, the Asian culture has it all. People have always associated culture with traditions and customs but it is so much more than that. In Asia many cultural artifacts have been observed over the years and have been recognized for their unique and intricate designs.
The former most artifacts discovered in Asia were from around the 13th millennium BCE and were found in Western Turkestan and Siberia. In the following years, the artifacts that were produced by the migrants, who came from various regions despite their geographical impediments, coincided with those developed during the same stages.
The era of Bronze Age sites was found to be even higher. The process of metallurgy developed earlier and in abundance on the middle reaches of Yenisey River, in the Minusinsk Basin. Although copper objects were rare, the dawn of Metal age was heralded later on.
Cambodia, located in Southeast Asia is very well known for many of its art work but is most famous for its wood and stone work on Angkor, which is also the world’s biggest temple.
Similarly, the metallurgy industry in Uzbekistan is one of the most acknowledged and recognized all over the world. A Russian Traveller, Rustom Merseav, wrote an entire article on its metal industry known as A Silver Song of Metal. The country fosters the most picturesque mosque, temples, mausoleums and madrasas in all shades of blue. Its capital named Tashkent which specifically means “stone village” possesses rare marbles and has played a vital role in the economic and cultural of Central Asia. Its decorative and exclusive embroidered and silk textiles, ceramics and wood carving are exported to other parts of the world striking the wealth of artistic imagination.
India, located in the southeast of Asia also stands out among other counties because of its diverse and rich culture. Crafts in different states in India mark their own style due to the existence of the different empires that once ruled there. For years, especially in the Indian rural societies, these crafts have long been a part of their tradition and culture. Some of their ancient cultural handicraft styles include Dhokra, Bidriware, Kamrupi and Pembarthi. All these are crafted through metal work using Gold, silver, brass, zinc, and copper.
Dhokhra is made using lost-wax casting technique and non-ferrous metal. These artifacts to date are of great value and demand in the domestic as well as foreign markets.
Bidriware is driven from the township of Bidar which is the prime manufacturing center of metalware. It is made from the blackened alloy of copper and zinc inlaid with sheets of silver. It is exported to other parts of the world and has greatly contributed to its economic growth.
Kamrupi of Kamrup is famous for its unique beauty and utility. Made from brass of the highest concentration and bell metal. The state Museum in Gawahati showcases a rich collection of these items.
Pembarthi metal craft is manufactured in Pembarthi. They are known for their intricate metal sheet artwork. Kakatiyas from the Kakatiyas dynasty have extensively used sheet metal art to decorate their temples and chariots.
Lastly Pakistan, located in Southeast Asia has also shown exclusive artwork in wood crafts, pottery and ceramics. Although 95% of the country’s land is under deforestation, the crafts manufactured there are of diverse and of considerable variety. These woody ornaments are available in almost every household and their demand is fairly high.
Use of metal with wood to add to the aesthetics has also been a part of this country’s culture. Inlaying wood with other materials such as horn and bones of animals, and plastic have created bolder designs. Combinations of these are used to make decoration pieces, jewelry boxes etc. Brass inlaid wood work is found in Peshawar and Chiniot.
In the south of Pakistan, the Sindh and Multan side, craftsmen are using a layer of lacquer to wood. The color and design is varied from region to region in terms of geometry but are highly encouraged and asked for throughout Pakistan.