#endangered_craft #handicrafts #indiancrafts #mathura #uttarpradesh #india
Sanjhi Art from #Mathura is a truly unique craft form that features exquisite designs and intricate picture motifs, cut into paper. Craftsmen use specially designed scissors to accomplish this process. Let’s take a look at the history and current state of this art form.
Sanjhi art is the #traditional art of #stenciling from Mathura, Shree Krishna Ji’s hometown. Known for its inherent spiritual implications that reach beyond immediate aesthetic appeal, it is considered to be one of the finest arts of spiritual expression. The art grew in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the walls and floors of temples were decorated with Sanjhi motifs. The term Sanjhi is derived from the Hindi word sandhya, the period of dusk with which the art form is typically associated. The art depicts Indian mythological stories in numerous forms, with predominant focus on Krishna’s Leela.
Folklore tells us that the origins of this art form lie with Radhe, who made Sanjhi rangolis using natural colors, along with flowers, leaves and colored stones, to woo Krishna. The other gopis soon followed suit, also making intricate designs to impress Krishna. Sanjhi has been popular ever since, and during the Mughal period, contemporary themes were introduced for greater perspective. Today, Sanjhi art is found in many homes and spaces. It has been displayed in Delhi metro stations and was used for pictograms during the Commonwealth Games.
To create a Sanjhi design, stencils are made on paper (mostly handmade) using specially designed scissors. These stencils are placed on flat surfaces or water, where the rangoli has to be drawn. Dry colors are then sifted onto the surface. Filling the colors and lifting the stencils are as critical as cutting the design. Peacocks, bullock carts, horses, cows, butterflies and trees are some of the common motifs used. The intricate craftsmanship reflects the artist’s devotion and the intimate love for the Blue God. To produce an elaborate Sanjhi design could take anywhere between an hour and a month.
Artists Vijay and Mohan’s family from Mathura, U.P. is one of the few custodians of this ancient art form. Their family has been practicing it for several generations.