During the era of kingdoms, craftsmen and artisans were patronized by the different dynasties who ruled over the state of Karnataka (earlier known as Mysore State), but over the last few decades they have gradually adapted their crafts to suit the needs of more modern lifestyles. Age old arts and crafts that were indigenous to villages that surrounded Bangalore are available in the city and make for beautiful keepsakes, often useful in a utilitarian way too.Lately Bangalore has become a nurturing platform for upcoming artists and also for traditional craftsmen from across the country. The city hosts a variety of art and artists centric events and exhibitions, inviting traditional and modern craftsman from all states of India to come and make themselves seen and appreciated.
The state is best known for its thriving industry of silk. Silk weaving that began in1912, when Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, who ruled the princely state of Mysore, imported looms to weave customized silk for the royal family. Today Mysore silks are famous the world over and popular for their rich vibrant colors, luxurious feel and stunning gold borders.
• Some of the crafts that have managed to hold their own in a rapidly changing environment:
• From the toymakers of Chennapatna who manufacture lacquered wooden toys
• Stone sculptors from Shivarpatna and Devanahalli who work with stone
• Metal casters from Nagamangala inspired by the human form.
• Fragrant sandalwood carvings, (do we still get these now?)
• Delicate rosewood inlay work traditionally using ivory but now with faux ivory or mother of pearl
• Bidri-ware made from an alloy of zinc, copper, tin, and lead, kinhal toys
• Navalgund durries: cotton rugs woven by the Jamkhan women from the Dharwad district with interesting geometric designs.
• Traditional jewelry: layered necklaces, elaborate bangles, earrings and waistbands made of gold and embellished with red, white and green stones.
• Folk art puppets of all shapes and sizes
• Traditional Mysore paintings that are easily recognized by their delicate lines and the subtle use of vegetable colors and rich gold leaf.