Andhra Pradesh, frequently known as the Rice Bowl of India, is a melting pot of culture. It’s a territory that’s been ruled by a variety of dynasties and empires. The region’s current lifestyle is the result of the fusion of various cultures. Foreign powers have left their imprint on music, dance, food, and literature. This variety and diversity have contributed to the culture’s richness and success. Culture of Andhra Pradesh encompasses a variety of artistic disciplines.
The state’s culture is an important aspect of the country’s rich cultural legacy. Kalamkari, Bidri, the amazing weaving of Gadwal and Venkatagiri, the exclusive metalware, brass, stone, and wood carving highlight the enormous talent of the Andhra craftsmen.
1. Budithi Art
Budithi art, a unique and special style of metal handicrafts in India, is particularly famous in Andhra Pradesh. Budithi art was created and is still done in Srikakulam’s Budithi village. It is well-known for producing stunning metal handicrafts in both traditional and contemporary designs. Brass is the most common alloy utilized in this art form. This region’s wonderful brassware is gaining appeal these days. It was once part of the village’s tradition, but it is now a vocation for the residents. Budithi brassware has grown in popularity thanks to the efforts of the state government.
The Brassware is designed with geometrical shapes, curves, and lines to create simplistic yet stunning presentations. The traditional utensils are primarily used in the kitchen. And contemporary artefacts exhibit the local artisans’ art form. Brass artefacts are considered suitable for a spiritual purpose by Hindus. These products are now also created for utilitarian functions. Brassware is particularly popular due to its unique brilliance and appeal. Brass is a soft metal with a bright gold hue that is usually classed as a copper alloy. It is thought that drinking water from a brass vessel is beneficial to one’s health. Brass contains zinc and copper, which enhance immunity and protect against sickness.
2. Mangalagiri Sarees
Handicraft weaving is used to make Mangalagiri sarees and fabrics in Mangalagiri, a town in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, India. Because of the famed temple of Lord Panakala Narasimha Swamy, which is located in the centre of the town, Mangalgiri has always been known for its pilgrimage significance. In 1999, the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act designated it as a handicraft with a geographical indicator from Andhra Pradesh.
Mangalagiri sarees are designed in the Nizam style, which makes them elegant. A few unique sarees feature exquisite tribal designs woven in cotton, as well as zari or golden coloured patterns in small checks. This saree’s pallu (edge) is embellished with a striped motif, which is a traditional tribal ornament composed of golden embroidery.
On the main body of the Mangalgiri saree, there are no decorations. Nizam border and pallu are adorned with zari or golden thread work. The tribal designs inspired these geometrical and basic designs. Many of the younger generations prefer wearing Mangalgiri weave cotton kurtas, dupattas, and stoles, which may be paired with western attire for a creative Indo-Western appearance.
According to legend, after paying reverence to the lord, pilgrims were required to purchase a saree from the local weavers, which provided another source of income for the weavers. The Mangalgiri saree rose in popularity as a result. The pillar alone demonstrates that the Mangalgiri handloom tradition has existed in the town for over five centuries.
3. Durgi Stone Art
The temple town village of Durgi in the Palnadu area of Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, produces Durgi stone craft. These are exquisite stone carvings fashioned from a unique type of limestone found only in the area. The craft began in the 15th century in Durgi and has prospered since then. Sculptors saw the possibilities of employing limestone instead of more expensive marble and granite at the time, resulting in the development of a new style of art. The stone’s smooth, whitish-grey texture lends itself well to beautiful sculptures of gods and goddesses. According to the Shilp Shastras, the craftsmen use traditional carving techniques. Today, a diverse selection of items is curated in order to broaden the craft’s economic appeal. Stone carvings are used to create lovely decor pieces in addition to auspicious deities and statues.
The Andhra Pradesh town of Allagadda is known as a major centre for sculptural stone carving. The sculptures here are built of locally sourced sandstone, which is both heat resistant and long-lasting. Its hue is typically brown or golden, and its composition allows for detailed carving and detailing. Gods and goddesses are sculpted in the Vijayanagara style, carefully following the old Shilp Shastra scriptures. Another type of stone used to carve sculptures in Allagadda is the strong black-stone, which comes in a range of shades from grey to black and is commonly used to carve Lord Krishna statues. The artisans have expanded their portfolio beyond god and goddess statues to include elegant interior design.
4. Etikoppaka Wooden Crafts
Etikoppaka is a small village on the banks of the river Varaha in the Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh. These lacquer-coloured toys are traditionally known as Etikoppaka toys or Etikoppaka Bommalu and are created in the Etikoppaka district of Andhra Pradesh. The village is well-known for its wooden toys. Because of the lacquer finish, the toys are also known as lacquer toys.
The village has a long and illustrious history, with local zamindars seeing the potential for creating beautiful and appealing toys long before independence. These are well-known for canon toys, Lord Ganesha in many forms, and bullocks, among other things. Natural dyes produced from seeds, lacquer, bark, roots, and leaves are used to colour the toys, which are built of wood. Toy manufacturing is also called Turned wood Lacquer craft because the wood used to manufacture the toys is soft in nature. Lac, a colourless resinous secretion of a variety of insects, is used to make Etikoppaka toys. During the oxidation process, the already prepared vegetable colours are added to the lac. The final product is a rich, coloured lacquer as a result of this technique. Etikoppaka toys, which are exported all over the world, are decorated with lac dye.
5. Eluru Carpets
Eluru, a renowned city in Andhra Pradesh and the district headquarters of the West Godavari district, is known throughout the world for its natural colour carpets. White, black, and brown carpets, as well as semi-black and grey carpets, are available. These are also commonly exported since they are woven with low-density knots.
Eluru’s carpets are frequently named after the carpet craftsmen who make them. HussainKhani, Amarkhani, Ramachandra Khani, Reddy Khani, and Gopalraokhani are some tovariants. Dillikhani has boats (kishti) and floral motifs, whilst Thotti Kahani is a flower-pot-based design composition. Ambarcha, guava, babul, and jampal are some of the fruits and flowers whose patterns appear on these carpets. Eluru carpets are usually floral or geometric in pattern, with a colour palette that includes a blend of blue and green, as well as light yellow and pastels. Many intricate designs are woven with a half-white background and deep-green and orange designs utilising the traditional talim technique.
6. Dharmavaram Sarees
Dharmavaram, in the Anantapur region of Andhra Pradesh, is famous for its silk sarees, which exude great grandeur while having a low gold thread count. Handlooms have been discovered at Dharmavaram dating back to the late 1800s. Butis and dots are among the traditional designs and motifs. The sarees have wide borders and vibrant colour schemes.
The silk weaving industry in Dharmavaram is well-known throughout the country, particularly for its exquisite silk sarees. The wall paintings of the Lepakshi temple at Hindupur also contain evidence of the origins of Dharmavaram Sarees. Both the warp and the weft are made of 2-ply Mulberry silk. Zari is widely used to embellish the saree’s borders, pallu, and body. This saree is also used to create gorgeous and vivid costumes for the Indian classical dances Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi.
Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, designated it as a geographical indication from Andhra Pradesh.
7. Pochampally Silk and Cotton Sarees
Pochampally or Pochampally Silk is a type of silk produced in the town of Bhoodan Pochampally in the Nalgonda district of Andhra Pradesh. The place is commonly referred to as India’s Silk City. The Ikat styling and designs put on Pochampalli Silk sarees have made them culturally prominent. These Ikat patterns are woven into the cloth in geometrical forms, guaranteeing that the complete look exudes a fascinating aura to both the wearer and the onlooker.
Pochampally silk is all about utilizing the smoothest and finest cotton and silk thread work to imprint intricate motifs and designs onto the fabric. The geometrically patterned designs are painted on the weft and warp threads and woven into the Pochampally fabric in an artistic manner. The fabric’s essence is a unique combination of sico, silk, and cotton. The production of these sarees incorporates natural components and sources.
8. Kondapalli Toys
Toys made of painted wood or Kondapalli toys, as they are known locally, are world-famous for their unique wood, which gives a sense of elegance to drawing rooms with their carefully crafted figurines. In the realm of handicrafts, these toys have carved themselves into their own niche. As characters from and evolve from light softwood, nimble-fingered artists carve with elegance. To make the hardwood item moisture-free, it is heated. The image’s many components are carved independently. The pieces are then bonded together using a tamarind seed adhesive.
The toy or figurine is painted with both water and oil colours. Painting is done with goat’s hair paint brushes that are delicate and thin. The toys depict real-life sceneries, animals, rural people, deities, and epic characters. Among the noteworthy objects manufactured by the artisans here are Kondapalli soldiers, pen stands, Dasavatar sets, and Ambari elephants. The miniature works of art, which are fashioned of white Poniki and painted with natural colours like vegetable dyes, are a collector’s joy. To paint toys of export quality, vegetable dyes are utilised, whereas oil paints are used to colour toys sold within India, and enamel paints are used to paint toys created for special occasions.
9. Kalamkari Painting
Kalamkari is a hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile and painting technique prevalent in Andhra Pradesh. It’s a technique for painting cotton garments with a kalam (pen) that uses a sharp-pointed perforated bamboo to control the flow of colour on the fabric.
The name is derived from the Persian words qalam (pen) and kari (to write) (craftsmanship). This type of art is well-known throughout Andhra Pradesh. Srikalahasthi from Chittoor district and Machilipatnam Kalamkari from Krishna district are the two main forms. Machilipatnam Kalamkari is made in the town of Pedana, near Machilipatnam, in the Krishna region of Andhra Pradesh, and involves the use of vegetable coloured block-painting of fabrics. Under the heading of handcraft goods, this style of painting was recognised for geographical indication. This style first emerged under the Mughal Dynasty and was later adopted by the Golconda Sultanate. Bedsheets, wall hangings, clothes, curtains, sarees, and other textile products are all manufactured in this manner. This part of Coastal Andhra Pradesh is known for generating some of the best Kalamkari prints in the world.
10. Bidri Art work
Bidri is a silver or gold inlay technique used on black metal. The ‘Bidri craft’ is named after the Karnataka town of Bidar, where it began.
Persian artists first presented the one-of-a-kind artwork. Bidar was visited by skilled Bidri artists from Persia, who educated Bidri workers to make marvels for royal families. The striking Mughal themes are skillfully engraved without detracting from the craft’s traditional element. Despite the fact that the craft is quite popular in Hyderabad, the artists have gone from Bidar since Hyderabad has better marketing and exporting options.
Melting the alloy, casting the object, engraving and inlaying the design, and finally oxidising are the four procedures involved in inlaying silver and gold on steel or copper over a black backdrop. Mughal’s themes are influenced by the primary motifs, which also include geometrical and floral patterns. Although the artist inserts innovative motifs, old designs are more popular.
Andhra Pradesh is a diverse state that encompasses all aspects of life, from technology to arts and crafts. Whether it’s toys, metal crafts, brassware, stone craft, sarees, or paintings, artisans’ expertise lies in the traditional methods of production that are still used today. With its rich texture, Andhra Pradesh’s handlooms entice not just Indians but also foreigners. These curios might make wonderful gifts for your loved ones.