Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Punjabi Art and Culture

Punjab entertain themselves in a variety of ways. The mirasis (professional wits), naqalias (mummers), and domanis (female singer-actresses) are professional performers belonging to the lower classes. They exploit all the tricks of exaggeration, absurdity, malapropism, comic gags, and lewd references. One of the popular organized forms of work and entertainment for young girls is Tirinjen - where the girls spin and sing. Tirinjen is a kind of social club, which can be organized in any home, where place for spinning wheels and the girls is available for a day/night. The girls would sing and dance, would express their sorrow and happiness, pangs of separation and joy of meeting.

The spinning wheel plays a significant role in the life of the women, as a companion, counselor in distress, friend and guide. The games in Punjab are suitable for children, youth, adult and old people alike. Many of these games have been lost in the evolution of history, and the ones that remain are losing for perhaps these are not in fashion except a few which still survive. These include dangals (wrestling bouts), folk songs and dances, kite flying, cock fights, etc. Kites, a favourite pastime of the Punjabis, is known by its various names - Guddi, Gudda, Mashli, koop, patang. Various festivals such as Basant Panchami (spring festival) provided special occasions for flying kites. Artistically designed kites, likes of which in my opinion are not made anywhere else in India, are available in many sizes.
In some Pahari miniatures, one can get a glimpse of typically Punjabi kites. Art is described as a creation or expression of something beautiful especially in a visual form and Arts and Crafts as a phrase means decorative designs and handicrafts. Punjab is famous for its Crafts work. The onslaught of high technology is putting a premium on the arts and crafts in the modern era.Various crafts famous in Punjab are: 

The craft of basketry is widely practised all over Punjab. After shaving, thin straws of this grass, are woven into beautiful carpets, curtains etc. Among these products the hand fan is very popular and fascinating on account of its curled shape. These fans are popularly known as Peshawari Pakkhe. The ones smaller in size are very fine and delicate. These are called Kundaldar Pakkhi on account of their curled ends. Another useful household contrivance called Chhaj in Punjabi was manufactured out of sarcanda which is used for separating edible stuff from .the grain. The basketware was intended to fulfil only the daily needs of the people. In most cases, no effort was made to give them a decorative or artistic touch.
Needle work

Needle work of Punjab is unique, it has beautiful names because of its associations with beautiful aspects of life and the beautiful designs which the dextrous fingers of Punjab's proverbially beautiful women create have such a wealth of forms and motifs that they defy enumeration. Phulkari meaning Flower work, is a spectacular style of embroidery peculiar to punjab and an essential part of everyday life. 
Almost every ceremony in which women participate is given a touch of additional colour and richness by the use of Phulkari on account of its being considered auspicious and a sign of 'Suhag'. Some of these are called Baghs, literally a garden, Phulkaris, literally flower work, rummals, scarfs. The patterns of needle work done on the bed spreads, chunnis, dupattas (these are head covers) and shirts and Salvars, are still different.

Punjabi Juttis 

The shoes made in different parts of Punjab out of self lured leather have different traditions. Light shoes were considered the best and to explain this aspect the cobblers used to say that even the sparrows can fly with them. Earlier shoes which have come to be known as Punjabi Juttis throughout the world were embroidered with gold and silver wires all over in different patterns covering every parts of the pair so that it looked as if it was made of solid gold and silver. Now even when golden and silver threads are used to embroider these shoes, the quality of these world famous shoes is still maintained.


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