Arts and Crafts of Uttar Pradesh [Part 2]

As per the tradition in art forms go, each and every part of India has their own ways to deal with colours and craft materials but when it comes to Uttar Pradesh then all the major art forms such as painting, sculpture, hand-crafted designs on metal, wood, ivory, stone and clay epitomize here..


Painting & Rock Painting

Uttar Pradesh’s tradition of paintings can be traced back to prehistoric time. For example- the cave paintings of Sonbhadra and Chitrakoot depict scenes of hunting, war, festivals, dances, romantic life and animals. But the culture of painting get shaped during Mughal period which is also called as ‘the golden period of painting in UP’. The art of painting attained its peak during the reign of Jahangir. The Mughal style of painting remains one of the greatest achievements of Asian culture and is unique in its concept, presentation and style.

The art of painting reached the epitome of perfection in the area of Bundelkhand when the King of Orchha reconstructed the temple of Keshav Dev in Mathura. The paintings of Mathura, Gokul, Vrindavan and Govardhan depict scenes from the life of Lord Krishna. Another major pre-modern painting tradition of UP is known as the Garhwal School which was patronized by the Kings of Garhwal.


  • Chikankari: Lucknow (Capital of Uttar Pradesh) is closely associated with another fine embroidery,chikankari. These cool summary shadow-work saris, kurtas and veils have been vogue in the city for hundreds of years. It is done on fabrics like chiffon, muslin, organza, organdy and silk.
  • Zardozi embroidery: The craft of zardozi or silver and gold embroidery was brought into  Delhi’s Turko-Afghans in the 12th century. It is another unique art where the embroidery is done in three dimensions. Zari works of Varanasi are famous the world over.
  • Pottery and exquisite metal ware products are also created on a large scale in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Carpet weaving: The state caters to 90 percent of the country’s carpets and the carpet weaving centers in the state are primarily located around Mirzapur, Khamaria and Bhadohi.

Metal Ware

Uttar Pradesh is the largest Brass and Copper producing state in India. In domestic-ware each of the ‘lotas’ (small water-pots) is known by the name of its origin, like Etawah, Banaras, Sitapur, etc. The ritual articles are largely in copper. Moradabad in U P is famous for art metalwork and known for its coloured enamelling and intricate engravings.


Glazed pottery with white background and blue and green patterns is developed in Khurja, Chunar and Rampur in Uttar Pradesh. UP produces some of the finest Chunar black clay pottery. This is inlaid with silver paint in intricate designs. The art that is perfected in Nizamabad, has high gloss and lustre derived from a powder called kabiz made from the mud of rice fields. Khurja is also well known for its cheap and tough tableware.


Gorakhpur has villages where clay figures of animals are done and It is famous for its ornately decorated terracotta horse. The potter creates the basic form by throwing separate pieces on the wheel and then joining them.


Lucknow is well known for its jewellery and enamelling work. Exquisite silverware with patterns of hunting scenes, snakes and roses are very popular. The Bidri and Zarbuland silver works of Lucknow find expression on excellent pieces of huqqa farshi, jewel boxes, trays, bowls, cufflinks, cigarette holders, etc. Renowned ivory and bone carvings with motifs of flowers, leaves, creepers, trees, birds and animals are widely produced in Lucknow. The master craftsmen create intricate items like knives, lampshades, shirt pins and small toys.


‘Attars’ or perfumes are also produced in Lucknow from the 19th century. The Lucknow perfumers experimented and succeeded in making attar with delicate and lasting fragrances those are made from various aromatic herbs, spices, sandal oil, musk, essence of flowers, and leaves. The famous Lucknow fragrances are khus, keora, chameli, zafran and agar.

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