Walnut Wood Carving In Kashmir
An ornamental and delicate process of crafting, Walnut wood Crafting is Unique to Kashmir due to the high amount of Walnut trees in this region. The Carved wood of Walnut trees is one of the most important crafts of the region. It is one of the few places in the world, where Walnut is still available at the high altitudes of 5000-7000 feet above sea level.
The wood is durable and hard, and it's even texture and close grain facilitates the detailed fine works on it. It also presents visually interesting effects with mere polishing of the surface. For a Kashmiri Craftsman, it's a matter of rejoice, carving varied intricate designs. Of these carved products, a variety of them bear the lotus, Iris, Bunch of Grapes, Chinar leaves, Pears and Roses. Motifs of Dragons and patterns of embroidered shawls and Kani, all eventually find their places in the deep relief carving on these wooden objects.
The raw material that is used for Kashmiri fine woodcarving process, is obtained from the 'Dool Kul', the local name of the Walnut trees. The trees are cut only when they Mature to the age of three centuries. Wood used for the carving process is obtained from the trunk or the roots of the trees. The wood from the trunk is lighter in colour, while the highly pronounced grain wood from the roots is black in colour. Branches have no noticeable grain and the lightest colour. The dark part of the wood is the strongest and hence the best for carving. The value of the wood from each part differs, as the root wood is the most expensive. Walnut Trees are of four varieties, which are cut once they mature to give fruits.
Walnut carving is believed to have been introduced in Kashmir during the 15th Century. The king at that time, promoted the art to improve the Economy of the valley. Today, it has moved from limited elaborate creations to a whole range of contemporary products.
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