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Watch | A Kashmir papier-mâché artisan's dream project

Masters of the art of papier-mâché have, for centuries, striven to bring to life the literary works of poets, Iranian kings and Mughal emperors using their art.

No historian has been able to trace the first papier-mâché artisan who travelled to Kashmir from Persia, where the craft was born.

Local legend has it that the art was introduced to Kashmir in the 15th century by a Kashmiri prince who had spent years in prison in Samarkand in Central Asia.

Experts, however, believe the Sultanate period in Kashmir in the 14th century was when a large number of migrants, especially those from Persia and Central Asia, travelled to Kashmir and introduced many arts and crafts.

The art of papier-mâché has been passed on orally from one generation to the next. Today, one can still find papier-mâché artisans in the narrow bylanes of Srinagar’s Zadibal-Alamgari Bazaar.

One such award-winning 'paper mache' artist, Maqbool Jan is known for his innovative patterns. He was just four when he joined a karkhana, soon after his father’s death and turned the pain into unmatched craft.

The four-time State award winner is known for the boxes he makes with the Dal Lake and Jamia Masjid motifs. But when he designed papier-mâché on the walls of the now-famous Srinagari tea joint Chai Jai, Maqbool saw it as the beginning of a new trend.

Depictions of Kashmir’s flora and fauna are the big draw for buyers across the globe. But Maqbool Jan's latest project is to make a map of Srinagar city on cloth by using papier-mâché techniques.

He wants to see this masterpiece, which he has been working on for over a year, displayed in the Indian Parliament.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 4:32:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/a-kashmir-papier-mch-artisans-dream-project/article35796197.ece

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