The Land With Patronised Art Forms
Uttar Pradesh is one of the renowned cultural centres of the country showcasing its distinctive art, handicrafts, music, dance, cuisine etc. The art and handicrafts of the state includes a wide range of wooden items, earthenware, textiles, stone work, jewellery and sculptures. The rich state is popular as a land of art and artisans. This feature of the state also reveals a major influence of the Mughal dynasty. From Varanasi to Agra, every town in Uttar Pradesh is famous for some craft or the other.
This art work (Zari) is the embroidering of cloth with silver and gold. This rich embroidery pattern was introduced to the state by Delhi's Turko-Afghan Sultans in the 12th century. It still exists in Varanasi, Agra, Lucknow, Rampur and several other cities in Uttar Pradesh. Varanasi Zari work can be seen on textiles, artifacts and drapes.
It is one of the finest embroidery patterns in the world. The state capital Lucknow is famous for Chikankari that is done on fabrics like chiffon, organza, doruya, organdie, muslin, and silk. This art work provides sarees and salwar kameez with a fascinating look. The Persian word 'chikan' means cloth wrought by needlework. Muree, lerchi, keelkangan and bakhia are the different patterns of chikankari.
Painting reached its peak during the Mughal dynasty. Miniatures, portraits, court scenes, hunting events and battles are popular subjects of these paintings.
The art of stone carving can be seen in stupas and cave temples. Agra is the hub of stone artwork where one can find mirror frames with lace like fringes, fretwork balustrades, bowls, garden furniture, and other marble items. Craftsmen carve thin marble slabs to make fine lattice windows. The Taj Mahal is the most famous marble construction in the world.
The jewellers of Uttar Pradesh are considered the best in creating lightweight jewellery with filigree and open work.
Varanasi Brocade or Kinkab
Rich Varanasi Brocades on silk and cotton fabrics are simply unbeatable. Banarasi sarees are world famous for this unique artwork. They are popular as wedding attire among Indian brides. Red-golden zari saree - with wonderful design motifs of intricate floral and foliage patterns, kalga and bel etc - is one of the most beautiful attire for Indian women.
Bhadoi, Shahjahanpur and Mirzapur are known as world famous carpet weaving centres. These carpets have exotic designs. One can order a carpet with a design of his/her choice. Bhadoi (near Varanasi) is famous for the best silk carpets in the south Asian region.
Metal ware is the prime attraction of Moradabad (near Bareilly). Popular for their color enameling and intricate engravings, these metal wares are of two types- Naquashi (done on tinned surface) and Khudai (done on lac coated unpolished brass). A number of showpieces like traditional vases, Ganeshas, laughing Buddhas, stools, trays and contemporary beautiful bowls, the Natraja idol etc. are specialities of this artwork.
Ferozabad, Varanasi and Saharanpur are famous for the glass industries. Ferozabad is synonymous with glass bangles while Varanasi specialises in glass beads. There is a small glass work industry in Saharanpur as well that designs toys and mouth pieces of hukkas.