Applique Works

One of the most important cottage industries encouraged by temple rituals was the creation of applique work. A fine example of the craft is the enormous applique canopies above the reigning deity of Puri , Lord Jagannath . Applique art is the process of cutting coloured cloth into shapes of animals , birds, flowers, leaves and other decorative motifs and stitching them on to a piece of cloth that can ultimately be used as a lamp shade , a hand bag or even a garden umbrella .The village of Pipli , 40 kms. from Puri , is the site of beautiful applique work, created by artists, quite a few of whom have won nationalawards for their crafts. The sets of 96 circular playing cards with traditional charming paintings called " Ganjappa " are much sought after by Connoisseurs. Raghurajpur a road side village about 14 Kms away from Puri towards Bhubaneswar and Chitrakara Sahi in Puri Town houses these artisans The Palm leaf painters are also seen on the job in this village Raghurajpur which is proud of her products-artisans and painters. These paintings are done by the palm-leaf etching techniques which are formed by stitching together rows of the leaves. They can be folded into a compact pile, and then opened up easily. Tailors at Pipli execute applique works, which are in great demand. Giant-sized umbrellas of applique work are produced for use on festive occasions. Also used as garden umbrellas in sprawling lawns, they lend grace and colour to any gathering. Heart-shaped fans, big and smau canopies and wall-hangings are also prepared out of applique work. The tailors cut out figures of animals, birds, flowers as well as geometrical shapes out of richly coloured cloth and these are arranged symmetrically on another piece of cloth and sewn in place to produce an eye-catching design. The rich splashes of yellow, white, green, blue, red and black colours dazzle the eyes of the onlookers and set the festive mood. Bags of various shapes and sizes are also made with applique motifs. Applique chharis (umbrellas) and "tarasas" (heart-shaped wooden structures covered with applique work and supported on pikes) are used to lend colour to religious processions. Large applique canopies are an integral part of marriage celebrations. In temples, canopies are hung over the deities to protect them from falling dirt.

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