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Lac Work in India

India is known for its ancient heritage of art and craft. We can find multiple forms of handicraft items in India each one with its own distinctive feature, connected with ancient roots, and history that is still under the wraps from different parts of the country.

One such handicraft is the Lac Craft. The primary resin substance of Lac is procured from an insect called Kerria Lacca’ and this is where the name of this craft comes from.

The art of Lac craft creates diversified items which are exceptionally elegant. The plethora of these Lac artifacts varies in designs and patterns which is why it is in high demand.

Along with being trendy, Lac craft is also of cultural and religious importance in India. 

The industry of Lac has grown profusely in the course of time and has now crossed international boundaries as well.

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Let’s take a gander at this amazing craft that has given India a ground to be proud of.

The Emergence of Lac in India

In the 18th century, the craft of lac was initially introduced in the state of Rajasthan. The craft was made conversant by the King of Jaipur, Maharaja Ram Singh. He brought talented artisans from across the country and that is how the the Lac industry in Rajasthan started.

The Emergence of Lac in India

Like many other craft forms of India, the art of lac was also originally stemmed in Persia. It is known for its uniqueness and the variety of items on which this art work is create and is produced by the most skilled artisans. 

After the second world war, the industry of lac gained its real status and since then there has been no looking back.

Well trained and expert artisans work hard with their artsy talent to create the art of Lac.

The Procedure

To create a Lac crafted item it requires a high degree of precision. The production involves many steps making it a complex process though each step has its own eminence in the craft.

The first step involves the rearing of resin producing insects on the host trees. These insects colonize the branches, releasing the resinous material which is to be collected. These coated branches are cut and made ready to be harvested.

The Emergence of Lac in India

In the next step, the extracted product is filtered and purified before it is put to use in the crafting process. This step is performed multiple times to make sure that the product is free of any impurities.

This purified lac is then accumulated in a container and later is converted into varnishes and sealing wax. The wax produced undergoes the steps of heating, combining and kneading until a dough-like mass is made. 

This dough functions as a prime raw material in the crafting of Lac items.

The skilled artisans make use of this dough to make famous Lac articles; primarily bangles. The use of a wooden base is made to shape these items as Lac work can be performed only on wood.

In regard to this fact, the artisans are meant to have an eye for intricate designing and crafting. 

Process of making Lac Bangles:

The world famous lac bangles are a thing of sheer beauty. The procedure of making these require more expertise and artsy vision.

The lac dough is pressed, expanded and thickened to make stiff long tubes which are converted into the shape of bangles with required diameter. 

To get the preferred thickness of the bangle, it is slightly heated by rolling the lac over a wooden tool. After the lac is heated and molded properly, it is cleaned, polished and given the final artistic touch.

These lac bangles are designed and mounted with various other add-ons like small mirrors, semi-precious stones or beads. Giving rise to this exceptional jewellery needs both skill and accuracy. 

Lac Jewellery is colourful, vibrant and looks perfect with any traditional attire. The designs of these items keep changing and modifying according to the trends and styles.

Other than bangles, Lac items include ornaments, boxes, combs and various types of decorative items. Crafting and designing home decor products need precision and dedication as it is a time consuming job.

The Lac Handicraft around the country

The Lac Handicraft around the country

The Lac craft is majorly famous in the state of Rajasthan, with West Rajasthan being the point of its inception. Apart from Rajasthan, there are many other states of India which excel and different types of Lac art and design.

Let’s have a sneak peak into which state specializes in creating which product.

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Lac Craft in Eastern India:

Wide range of Lac items are made in the eastern states of India like Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal. Bihar is the second largest center for Lac craft products and creates tons of Lac waste which is transported back for conversion.

Odisha is famous for its Lac comb known as ‘Lac Shiredi’. Other artefacts of Odisha include jewellery and jewellery boxes.

The Lac craft is also famous amongst the Bengali culture and families. The state produces various products like Lac ornaments, bangles, wall decors and tabletops.

Lac Craft in Western India:

Gujarat and Rajasthan are the main states of Western India which are popular for Lac handicraft. The pink city Jaipur has the largest number of importers and exporters of Lac. Lac jewellery is a part of Rajasthani culture as these ornaments are worn by women in all auspicious occasions.

Surat, Ahmedabad and the district of Panch Mahal in Gujarat also manufactures Lacquered bracelets and wooden toys with colourful designs.

Lac Craft in Northern India:

Lac bracelets and other ornaments are made in Delhi and Punjab. Famous for its history and culture, the city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh has a 400 year old Lacquer ware industry producing multiple forms of items and artifacts.

Lac Craft in Southern India:

Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are the main centers of Lac work in the Southern States of India. Mysore and Harapanahalli of Bellary district in Karnataka are famous for the Rajputana boxes with traditional, geometrical and floral motifs designed on them with two prime colours in a rhythmic manner.

Andhra Pradesh is prominently known for the lacquered ‘Etikoppaka’ toys which are also used as home decor items.

The perfect blend of style with traditional designs make the Lac handicraft a thing of exceptional art which is adored all around the globe.

Which of the Lac crafted items are your favourite and which of these do you own or wish to buy?

Let us know in the comments below!

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