Items reflecting India's rich and diverse heritage and showcasing distinctive traditions of its various regions were chosen by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as his gifts to various dignitaries from Nordic nations that he met during his three-day tour to as many European countries.
Official sources said Mr. Modi gifted a rogan painting, an art of cloth printing practiced in Gujarat's Kutch, to Danish queen Margrethe; a silver meenakari bird figure from Banaras to Crown Princess Mary; and a brass tree of life from Rajasthan to his Finland counterpart.
He presented a dhaal with koftgiri art from Rajasthan, and a wall-hanging with Kutch embroidery, to the Prime Ministers of Norway and Denmark, respectively, while giving a pashmina stole in a papier mache box from Jammu & Kashmir to his Swedish counterpart. The PM gifted a dhokra boat from Chhattisgarh to Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, sources said, noting these products are in great demand in domestic and foreign markets because of their simplicity, enchanting folk motifs, and forceful form. Dhokra is a non-ferrous metal casting craft using the lost-wax casting technique, something in use in India for over 4,000 years.
In rogan art, paint made from boiled oil and vegetable dyes are laid down on fabric using either a metal block (for printing) or a stylus (for painting). The craft nearly died out in the late 20th century.
Referring to Banaras meenakari work, officials noted that the art of silver enamelling practised in Varanasi is almost 500 years old and has its roots in the Persian art of meenakari (meena is the Persian word for glass).
The tree of life, they added, symbolises development and growth of life, and this hand-crafted wall decorative art-piece is made of brass and is an example of the excellent craftsmanship and rich tradition of India. The roots of the tree represents connection with the earth, leaves and birds represents life and candle stand represent light.
Tarkashi or koftgiri on metal is a traditional art of Rajasthan crafted as a means of decorating arms and armour. Today, it has been diverted to the decoration of objects such as picture frames, boxes, walking sticks and decorative swords, and daggers and war accessories like shields, they noted.
Kutch embroidery is a handicraft and a signature art tradition of the tribal community of Kutch district in Gujarat. The embroidery, with its rich designs, has made a notable contribution to Indian embroidery traditions, the officials noted.
A symbol of luxury and elegance, Kashmiri pashmina stoles have been treasured for their rare material and exquisite craftsmanship. They are known to offer warmth and softness beyond comparison.
On a three-day tour to Germany, Denmark and France from May 2, Mr. Modi is scheduled to meet eight world leaders from seven countries, besides having several other engagements during his stay before his return to India on Thursday.