Egyptian designs that Pharoah would envy!

HANDICRAFT HAAT

Egyptian designs that Pharoah would envy!

A pendant shaped like a cross with a loop at the top might look snazzy to the Indian eye but it is not just an ornament for the Egyptians who consider this ‘Ankh’ as ‘Key of Life’! 

This design along with few others is moulded in copper and is part of the exclusive jewellery exhibited for sale at the ongoing 28th Annual Craft Bazaar of Dastkari Haat Samiti where Egyptian artisans showcase their craft along with their Indian counterparts.
While most of these jewellery pieces are in metal with Islamic, Coptic and Pharaonic design, there is also a unique craftsmanship in designing junk jewellery by incorporating ancient semi-precious stones from Egypt. Mother of pearl, turquoise, lapis lazuli and carnelian are few stones that Dr Heba Handoussa (founder of Egypt Network for Integrated Development) uses to create earrings and neckpieces. 
“With wire work in bronze we try to make articles for tourists and hope that they come back. There have been no tourists to Egypt since the revolution broke out in January 2011 and projected Egypt in an unstable condition to the rest of the world,” informs Heba with a heavy heart as she shows her numerous exquisite designs.
Heba and her team from Egypt teamed up with Indian artisans to learn and share about each other’s craft during workshops, organised with the aim of exchanging art. “We learnt a lot from these workshops,” says Ramy Mohammad, another Egyptian artisan while holding a vase made from Alabaster (water stone from Nile). Besides him is seated an old gentleman, Dr Said El Matany, scraping names and horoscope signs on limestone chunks that are shaped like blood-sucking beetles from the popular Hollywood film The Mummy. 
The Egyptian crafts include marble inlay, bead work, telli work, leather work and papier mache along with weaving and embroidery which has evolved over 5,000 years, like in India. Each Egyptian motif belongs to a specific region in that country, similar to what we have in India. Take for instance, the bed and cushion covers by Manoj Chauhan from Ahmedabad who incorporates Warli motifs and figures in an otherwise applique dominated work, simply for the need of experimentation. This handicraft mela is ongoing at Dilli Haat, INA till January 15.  

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