Laced with wild flowers, shimmering lakes-it is truly what the mogul emperors described it as-“a paradise on earth. Taking inspiration from their surrounding this unique craft involves the use of paper pulp for creating beautiful artifacts painted by expert craftsmen in lifelike images of kingfishers, maple leaves and other motifs.
Papier-mache work began to be done in leather bindings in holy books like the Quran. The craft was originally known in Kashmir by its Iranian name ‘Kar-I-Qalamdani’. Qalamdan means a pen case, and was named such because in its initial stages the craft was used only to make pen cases. The noblemen and men of high stature commissioned it.
Groups of people called the ‘Sakta-makers’ makes papier-mache objects out of pulp and sell these objects to the ‘naqaash’ or papier-mache painter. The Sakta makes the molds themselves according to the object and purpose. Though the Kashmiri handicraft of papier-mache has foreign origins, these influences have been aptly imbibed and adapted to evolve into unmistakably Kashmiri characteristics.
with the age of technology and fast paced economies, the art of Papier-mache has shown signs of decline. The new generation of Kashmiris is as worldly and knowledgeable as the rest of their peers and has not shown the inclination to preserve this art.