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Cluster Brief

Tonk Namdah, Tonk, Rajasthan

Tonk district is famous as the `Nawabi Nagari` not only in Rajasthan but also all over India for its

Tonk Namdah, Tonk, Rajasthan

Tonk district is famous as the `Nawabi Nagari` not only in Rajasthan but also all over India for its historical legends. Tonk has been called Rajasthan ka Lucknow, Adab ka Gulshan, Romantic poet Akhtar Shreerani ki Nagri, Meethe Kharboojo ka Chaman and Hindu Muslim Ekta ka Maskan. It was a result of this secular nature that Tonk could keep an isolated status in Rajasthan. During the regime of Nawabs all the natives were invited to the Islamic function of Miladdunabi without any distinction of caste, colour and creed. The district represents a vision of communal harmony and intermingling of the races. Further details of the district are furnished below. The Namdah craft is well known amongst the population of Rajasthan because of its handmade tradition practice. It is practiced by both household and industrial units. Belonging from such a rich cultural history, the cluster consists of plenty of promises which needs recognition. There are approximately 700 household families along with another 2000 workers are dependent on this craft. In this Namdah craft, felt is basic sheet which requires to be prepared for craft making. Felt making process is manual at the household level. Different animals and figures are given a joyous woollen shape which remain as a consistent memory for many from their childhood. Foot mats of different sizes, stuffed toys, telephone mats, aasan (sitting mat for an individual), wall hangings like Jokers, misha, appu, magazine holders, letter holders, pouches, bags of different kinds are also made. Mainly to be sold in domestic market.

How is it made?
Namdas are felted mats/figures made from sheep fleece. The fleece is scoured, teased, and fluffed. The contemporary workshops use a carding machine to prepare the fleece but until recently, the 'painja', a wooden tool resembling a large bowl, was used to beat and fluff large quantities of wool. The fluffed fleece is piled on a large burlap cloth in the required size. The fringes are created by placing separate tufts of fleece along the edges. The mass of fleece is sprinkled with soapy water and rolled and kneaded until the layers of wool are felted. The namda is then soaked in a large cauldron of water and finally laid flat to dry in the sun. Since the techniques is so primitive it can be assumed that it is the same process as was used in ancient times (wells, 2000). Primarily thicker dyed felt sheets (from 0.5” to 1” in thickness) are cut to the required basic shapes like rectangles, squares, circular or semi-circular as per the need of the product proposed to be finally made. Thinner felt sheets are cut into smaller shapes according to the requirement of the ornamentation. Colour of the thread is always matched with the colour of the shapes to hide the stitch. However, the stitch is tightly done resulting dented texture on edge of the appliquéd patterns.