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Cluster Brief

Mainpuri Tarkashi Cluster, Uttar Pradesh

District Mainpuri is situated in the southwestern part of the state of Uttar Pradesh. In its north lies district Etawah, on its south is district Etawah. The east bo

Mainpuri Tarkashi Cluster, Uttar Pradesh

District Mainpuri is situated in the southwestern part of the state of Uttar Pradesh. In its north lies district Etawah, on its south is district Etawah. The east boundary touches district Kannauj and Firozabad district makes its western boundary. The tarkashi craft of Uttar Pradesh is today known for its fine inlay work with brass wire, strips, and motifs on dark sheesham with fine dots and patterned lines and is used extensively for furniture and boxes. The word Tarkashi implies the careful inlay of brass, copper, or silver wire in wood, forming a soft filigree. The core word is ‘taar’, or wire. The artisans there will tell you that the craft originated in the late nineteenth century, as a tool to carve khadauns, or wooden footwear, for pious Hindu priests who considered leather unholy. Now, such furniture and other arts-craft articles are displayed during trade fair for sales and promotion in different parts of the country. Initially this work was done on wooden chappals (Khadauns), wooden-boxes etc but later in course of time, it is done on centre tables, stools, bangle cases, name plates, idols of ‘Radha-Krishna’, other Gods and Goddesses’ and inspirational personalities. The cluster emerged in the 1960s, when the first National Award Winner artisan from Mainpuri – Mr Ram Swaroop Shakya, introduced this art form as a profession and started creating Tarkashi products like bangle box, stool, centre table, images of Gods, Goddesses and famous personalities. His wife and sons (and later their wives) learnt this art form from him and started working on it. Other products include jewellery box, name plates, mementos, show pieces, furniture, and other big products. At present, there are approximately 80 fully trained artisans who practice this art professionally, either full time or on a part time basis. Another 70 artisans practice it as freshly trained or ‘trainee artisans. This form of handicraft holds a lot of prospect in the upcoming days.

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