Incredible Crafts of Different Nations
Different civilizations found different means to do things. It is a testament to how ingenious human beings are. Although some of these crafts were preserved, many are lost.
Today, we will take a look at the most incredible crafts from different nations. In the end, we hope that what you learned will inspire you to learn how to create them or buy these authentic pieces of work at local fairs or markets.
1. Bone Carving: India
Bone carving is an ancient practice that has been around since the 16th century. In those times, they used elephant tusks or ivory, but they no longer use that today.
The bones they use are of various animals. The artists get the bones from cow butchers. They dry them under the sun and then cut them into small pieces. They chop the bones to get the desired size and shape, and the fragments they do not need are sent to manufacturers of fertilizer. The products they make from the bones are varied, but most of these are lampshades.
The process is tedious. After cutting the bones, the artisan has to boil them in water with baking soda for three hours. The boiling removes the oil and dirt, making the bones white again. After that, they dry the bones under a fan.
The artisan now carves the bones and then immerses them in hydrogen peroxide to clean them. This process has to be done under the sun, as the heat reacts with the solution. If it is raining, they use a bulb. Finally, he can glue them together to make the final product.
2. Kholuy Miniature: Russia
The Kholuy is a miniature painting made with a box of papiermâché. The paper gets a coat of varnish to make it hard, and then the artists begin to paint on it. It is also known as Russian Lacquer art, and it is exclusively done in the Kholuy school.
It has been around for a century, starting in 1883. Political unrest caused many artists to stop work, but a new school was re-opened in 1943. Most of the subjects for Kholuy miniatures are of Russian fairy tales.
The process today is much more efficient. The artisan glues paper or card together, and then he shapes the paper into boxes. Some of these are shaped into cylindrical containers. These boxes are left to dry for a month, then sanded down. Then, they apply lacquer and bake it in an oven for a month.
Up to 60 layers of lacquer are applied, and the boxes are dried in an oven overnight for each layer. Once the box is ready, the painter takes on it and does his magic.
There is no boundary to what an artist can paint. Some are of religious orientation, and some depict men in a duel.
These boxes can easily be mistaken for jewellery boxes, but the trained eye would know it is special. In most cases, the entire box is painted in black, and only the cover has a miniature painting.
3. Rag Doll: Mexico
The Mexican Rag Doll is also called the Maria doll. They are commonly sold today in Mexican tourist squares. The people who make these authentic dolls are indigenous women of the Otomi and Mazahua tribes that migrated to Mexico in the 1970s.
A typical Maria doll is a female doll with a characteristic Mexican dress. The doll wears braided hair, and they represent the old days. These rag dolls meant something valuable to a little girl in the old days. Until today, they are so small that they can fit in your hand.
The tradition has evolved, however, and many of these rag dolls today are average in size. Some of them are six inches long, and some are a foot long.
All the Maria dolls are hand-made—a representation of the hardworking Mexican woman who wants to provide for her family. These women are the Mazahuas, and they made these dolls to compete against general stores that sold expensive ones.
4. Bunraku: Japan
The Bunraku is a traditional puppet art in Japan. It can be traced as far back as the Edo period, and it is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.
These dolls are enormous. On average, they are about half the size of a human being. Three performers are required to operate them. The puppeteers do not use strings. Rather, they work like dolls used in ventriloquism.
Bunraku dolls are complex to make. They have mechanisms inside that allow the puppeteer to give them distinct movements. For example, every head has a string that allows the performer to move it up and down. There are also strings on the stick that holds the head. If pulled, these strings can change the facial expression of the doll. It is so mechanically complex that the puppeteer can even move the doll’s eyes.
In essence, we can say that the Bunraku is one of the earliest forms of ventriloquism. However, you need three people to operate it well in a theatre.
Traditional handicrafts are expensive for a reason. They require tremendous skills and time. Today, many of these have trickled down to popular culture. For example, one can easily see traditional Chinese lanterns in classic slots in an online casino. If at all, people must appreciate these works of art and support them. For every purchase you make, you are contributing to the livelihood of people who are keeping the tradition alive.