Gulabi Meenakari brooch and cufflink set to US President
The PM gifted a Gulabi Meenakari brooch and cufflink set to United States President Joe Biden.
Gulabi Meenakari is a GI-tagged art form of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. A piece of pure silver is moulded into a base form, and the chosen design is embossed in the metal. The embossed shapes are then filled with crushed meena glass mixed with an intriguing natural anardana (pomegranate seeds) glue. This is then baked to get a translucent coloured patch. What distinguishes it from other meenakari is the layer of white meena, which acts as an opaque canvas for hand-painted motifs. The paint is baked layer by layer for permanence. The motifs primarily use the colour pink (gulabi), which lends its name to the craft.
These cufflinks were especially prepared for the president with a matching brooch for the First Lady.
Platinum-coloured hand-painted tea set to UK PM
Prime Minister Modi gifted a hand-painted tea set from Bulandhshahr district in Uttar Pradesh to his UK counterpart Boris Johnson.
The base form is hand painted and then baked at 1200 degrees Celsius. The embossed outlines are laid manually with a mehndi cone. Each shape is then separately filled with colour and baked again. The gifted crockery has been outlined with platinum metal paint in honour of Her Majesty, the Queen’s platinum jubilee on throne, being celebrated this year.
Hand-knotted silk carpet to Canada’s PM
The PM gifted a hand-knotted silk carpet to his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau.
The silk carpets are famous all over the world for their softness and craftsmanship. A Kashmiri silk carpet is known for its beauty, perfection, lushness, luxury and dedicated craftsmanship. Each Kashmiri silk carpet is considered to be a never-before-seen piece of hand-made art.
The Kashmiri silk carpets are made predominantly in the Srinagar area of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. These exquisite creations are hand-knotted on the warp threads, one at a time, in accordance to a strict code of colours in the order of their appearance in the pattern. The knotted product is clipped with shears for smoothness, and then treated with several brightening processes.
Characteristically, all silk carpets have an amazingly innate attribute of displaying different colours when viewed from different angles or sides. Often the colours tend to have a day-and-night variation in shades that seem to impart an illusion of viewing two carpets instead of the actual one carpet.
Attar bottles in zardozi box to France’s President
The PM gifted Indian perfume (attar) in a zardozi box, crafted in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow, to French President Emmanuel Macron. The Zari Zardozi box has been hand embroidered on khadi silk and satin tissue in the colours of the French National Flag. The motifs are traditional Indo-Persian, lotus flowers hand embroidered with metal wire in blue and a pendant used in Kashmiri carpets, besides those from Awadhi architecture.
This box contains the following:
Attar Mitti: A unique attar produced in Kannauj where Petrichor, the fresh odour of first rain falling on earth, is captured in sandalwood oil. It has an earthy wet natural aroma, produced by 5,000-year-old traditional deg and bhapka method by distilling specially selected baked soil in sandalwood oil.
Jasmine Oil: An exclusive natural oil of bela (Jasmine sambac), freshly plucked, produced by careful hydro distillation.
Attar Shamama: An unique attar capturing the essence of a number of herbs and spices of age-old vedic formulation in sandalwood oil to produce an attar having warm spicy, herbaceous, oriental notes, which is very difficult to replicate.
Attar Gulab: An attar having odour most close to natural rose, produced by hydro distillation in a copper vessel so as to avoid overheating of the petals.
Exotic Musk: A modern masculine fragrance crafted with opulence of jasmine, extravagant sensuality of rose and the provocative charm of warm, woody note of musk as its base note.
Garam Masala: To celebrate the French appreciation for a strongly grounded cuisine, the newly formulated liquid Garam Masala has been added. It is an edible natural oil combination of the extracts and essential oils of the iconic Indian spice blend of Garam Masala, which is very difficult to replicate.
Marble Inlay table top to Italy’s PM
Prime Minister Modi gifted a marble Inlay table top to Italy’s PM Mario Draghi.
Marble inlay has its origins in Opus sectile, a form of pietra dura popularised in the ancient and mediaeval Roman world where materials were cut and inlaid into walls and floors to make a picture or pattern. This marble table top with inlay work has its origin in Agra and is made of semi-precious stones with gradients in their colour, making it very similar to the Italian marble inlay work. Stones with colour gradient are harder to place, but make the inlay more realistic. The delicate process involves cutting and engraving of semi-precious stones on marble manually. To start with, a pre-defined pattern like a floral design or a geometrical design, is engraved on the marble item. Small pieces of different semi-precious stones are then cut delicately. These small pieces are then slipped into grooves, making the simple marble item a beautiful and colourful masterpiece of art.
Marodi-carving metal pots to German chancellor
The PM gifted Marodi-carving metal pots to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
This nickel-coated, hand-engraved brass vessel is a masterpiece from Moradabad, which is also known as the Peetal Nagari or “brass city” of Uttar Pradesh. After casting the pot, the design that has to be engraved is first sketched on paper. An outline of the whole design is done with a fine engraving tool hammered with a wooden block. This particular type of engraving is called Marodi, owing to the curved lines used to fill up the negative space in this design. The importance of the engraving craft of Moradabad is in its ability to elevate items of everyday use into objects of intrigue.
Black pottery artefacts to Japan’s PM
Prime Minister Modi gifted black pottery artefacts to his Japanese counterpart. The black pottery of Nizamabad in Uttar Pradesh uses a special technique to bring out the colour. The technique involves baking the pot inside an oven, ensuring that there is no scope for oxygen to enter the place and the heat level remains high. The presence of oxygen can make the pottery red. The glaze on the pottery comes from the high zinc content of the soil and the layer of mustard oil applied before baking the pottery. The pottery comes both with and without inlay. In the inlaid pottery box, silver metal powder has been used. The circles are hand-carved and then filled with metallic powder. The entire vessel is then baked one last time.
Dokra art piece on Ramayana theme to South Africa’s President
The PM gifted a dokra art piece to South African president Cyril Ramaphosa.
Dokra art is non–ferrous metal casting. It uses a lost-wax casting technique. This is over 4,000 years old. There are two main processes of lost-wax casting: solid and hollow. These products, made by artisans mainly from central and eastern India, are in great demand in domestic and foreign markets because of their primitive simplicity, enchanting folk motifs and forceful forms.
The one gifted to the South African leader is an art piece from Chhattisgarh, based on the Ramayana theme: Lord Ram riding an elephant, along with brother Lakshman, wife Goddess Sita and Lord Hanuman.
Nandi-themed Dokra art to Argentina’s President
Prime Minister Modi gifted another Dokra art piece to Argentine President Alberto Fernández. Even this one – a figure of ‘Nandi’, the vehicle (mount) of Lord Shiva, according to Hindu mythology – is from Chattisgarh.
Lacquerware Ram Durbar to Indonesia’s President
PM gifted Lacquerware Ram Durbar to Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo.
The GI-tagged lacquerware art form has its roots in the temple town of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. The wooden statues of gods, goddesses and sacred animals serve as coveted souvenirs taken back by pilgrims. The process is a tedious one, requiring assembly of a base wooden form with separate limbs, which is covered layer by layer with distemper or lac-based paint. True to their city of origin, Lacquerware items always come in bright, jewel tones.
This particular gifted piece is made on goolar (Botanical name: Ficus Racemosa) wood. The principal characters in the artwork are Shri Ram, Goddess Sita, Lord Hanuman and Jatayu. It is believed that the Indonesian version of Ramayana was written during the Medang Kingdom (732-1006 AD) in central Java. It is known as Kakawin Ramayana. The story of Ramayana was narrated to the people through shadow puppetry (wayang kulit and wayang purwa).
Moonj baskets and cotton durries to Senegal’s President
The PM gifted Moonj baskets and cotton durries to Senegal’s President Macky Sall.
In Senegal, the tradition of hand weaving is passed down from mother to daughter, adding to its importance as a vehicle for cultural expression and family livelihood – driven by strong women. The same is done in Prayagraj, Sultanpur and Amethi districts of the state of Uttar Pradesh, where Moonj grass (Saccharum Bengalense) is now acting as a sustainable source of income for rural women. To add to this, Moonj products are wonderful example of utilitarian handicrafts made with sustainably sourced material. Like Senegalese baskets, Moonj craft also utilises bright, jewel-tone colours.
This particular gifted piece is by a master craftswoman from Prayagraj. The blades of the grass used here are much thinner, making them more difficult to weave.
The cotton durries are hand woven in the Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh. The shuttle handloom work of Sitapur durry making is similar to the Senegalese art of Manjak loincloth. The beauty of this particular piece is the thin width of its loom, which increases the work threefold.
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