The Journey of a Sixty Year Old Artisan and His Endeavour to Keep Traditional Art Alive

Indian art is rich in technique, culture, heritage, and history. With stark motifs, bold colours, and traditional figures, Indian art is one that cannot play low. Many artisans, for generations, have been creating traditional art that has been passed onto them from their forefathers and strives to keep alive the legacy. However, they often find themselves lacking the means to reach a global market or even influence Indian buyers. With no recognition and minimal income. many artisans today are finding it difficult to continue making art and gradually giving up the legacy to find other jobs.

Moved by their condition and keen to offer them a voice, a team of patrons started Artisanscrest- an e-commerce brand that is on the constant lookout for such traditional artisans to provide them with a platform to showcase and sell their art. With over (years of experience) and more than (number of products), the team is hoping to make a strong impact and keep Indian art alive in all its glory.

On one such occasion, we had the opportunity to make acquaintance with Rajiv Ji who specialises in the Lost Wax technique of art. Known as Madhuchista Vidhana in Sanskrit, the history of this art style dates back to almost 6000 years ago and it is said that NASA now uses a similar idea to produce its equipment.

What is Madhuchista Vidhana?

An age-old style of art, it is often mentioned in the Vedas under Shilpa Shastra (the science of making arts and craft) section. Bronze statues in India are popular for idol worship and their prominence is great owing to the same. However, the art style has been extended to crafting large temple bells, jhoola bells, and other everyday items.

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In this technique, the entire artefact/sculpture is carved from a single piece of metal without the use of any joints or adhesives. Naturally, this art style requires high skill, a lot of time, commitment, and patience. The reliability of this technique was so great that Germans used it in the 1920s to build their armaments.

Rajiv Ji’s journey with art

The sixty-year-old artisan takes pride in the skill that he has acquired by learning and observing his neighbour- a Rajasthan based traditional artisan. Ever since his discovery of interest in the subject in 1980, he has been making Lost Wax sculptures out of metal and became a licensed Sthapati for Lepakshi to design its Shiva, Ganapati, Lakshmi, and Saraswati idols.

During his prime time, he has contributed greatly to the industry by designing and crafting remarkable masterpieces for his clients and patrons of art.

Unfortunately, he was no exception to modernisation. As consumers preferred cheaper materials like plastic and resin, the demand for his work took a hit. Due to lack of awareness, consumers did not recognise the importance and value of traditional art which was pure skill and years of hard practice.

Dejected by the turn of events and lack of demand for his work, he gave up making art and instead pursued his career in teaching. However, despite years of being away from the arts and crafts industry, his love for the same has not vanished.

In fact, he still wishes to play a role in keeping the traditional art style of India alive for he strongly believes that this one-of-a-kind heritage must be celebrated and fondly remembered eternally.

As we made acquaintance with him through a social networking platform, we are more than happy to offer him a platform and the much-required reach so he can continue making art and inspiring young India through traditional art. He hopes to craft unique handicrafts and sculptures from metal like Krishna and Vasuki, Ram Darbar, or even the original paan box which was crafted through single casting and carved with great care. He also has some fresh ideas for everyday objects of use like a pen, stand, etc.

He argues that idols used in worship should be flawless and free of any defect. They must be crafted from a single piece of metal like the Shastras instruct us. He also states that two things matter the most when it comes to Madhuchista Vidhana- the skill of the artist and the casting technique itself.

We consider it as our pleasure to be helping a skilled artisan keep alive the traditional form of art and help him make an impact in the same. We believe that our past has incredible patience and that it waits silently for us to rediscover it.

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