Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Bali for the G20 Summit, presented world leaders with unique gifts, displaying rich art and culture of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
A Kangra miniature painting, generally portraying ‘Shringar Rasa’ or depiction of love on a natural backdrop, was presented to US President Joe Biden. The art originated in a small hill state ‘Guler’ in the first half of the 18th century when a family of Kashmiri painters trained in Mughal style of painting sought shelter at the court of Raja Dalip Singh of Guler. This style reached its peak during the reign of Maharaja Sansar Chand Katoch (1776-1824). The master painters of Himachal Pradesh make these exquisite paintings now using natural colors.
‘Mata Ni Pachedi’, a handmade textile of Gujarat, which is an offering to Mother Goddess in the temple, was presented as a gift to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. ‘Mata Ni Pachedi’ has its name derived from the Gujarati words ‘Mata’ meaning ‘mother goddess’, ‘Ni’ meaning ‘belonging to’ and ‘Pachedi’ meaning ‘backdrop’. ‘Mata Ni Pachedi’ was crafted by the nomadic community of Waghris as homage to the various incarnations of Mata, the divine singular form on the goddess from whom the others emanate and display narrative depictions of epics of Mata or Devi or Shakti.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was given a Pithora mural by PM Modi. A Pithora is a ritualistic folk art by the Rathwa artisans of Chhota Udaipur in Gujarat, depicting the cave paintings by tribals reflecting their social, cultural and mythological beliefs. Pithora as a mural has a special significance in the annals of the cultural anthropology. It brings a sense of exuberant energy in colour dating back to mankind’s earliest expressions of creativity. These paintings bear a striking resemblance the Aboriginal dot painting from the indigenous communities of Australia.
The (Double Ikat) ‘Patan Patola’ textile woven dupatta (scarf) by the Salvi family in Patan area of Northern Gujarat was presented to Italian PM Georgia Meloni. The well-crafted dupatta has a feast of colours, with the front and the reverse being indistinguishable. ‘Patola’ is a term derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Pattu’ meaning silk fabric that can be traced back to ancient times. The complex motifs placed in this Dupatta are inspired from the ‘Rani ki Vav’, a stepwell in Patan built in 11th century AD, which is known for its precision, details and beautiful sculptural panels.
The ‘Patan Patola Dupatta’ is packed in a ‘Sadeli’ box, which is a highly skilled wood craft, native to Surat. It has precise cutting geometric patterns on wooden articles to produce aesthetically appealing designs.
The Agate Bowl (Kutch), made of semi-precious stone from chalcedonic-silica, was presented by PM Modi to French President Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Olaf Scholz and Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong. The stones are found in the underground mines of Rajpipla and Ratanpur riverbeds, and extracted to produce a variety of ornamental objects.
This precious traditional craft has been passed on to a generation of artisans since the Indus Valley civilization days and is currently being practised by the artisans of Khambhat. Agate can be seen in various contemporary designs as home decor objects as well as fashion jewellery. The healing powers attributed to Agate stones have sustained its use over centuries.
A unique and finely crafted silver bowl from Surat was presented as a gift to Indonesian President Joko Widodo by PM Modi. The bowl is a centuries’ old craft perfected by the traditional and highly skilled metalsmiths of Surat in Gujarat. The highly elaborate process demands precision, patience and skilled handwork.
A Kinnauri shawl was also given as a gift to Widodo, who handed over the G20 presidency to India at the end of the summit. As the name suggests, the shawl is a specialty of the Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh. With its roots in the ancient tradition of wool milling and textile manufacturing in the region, the shawl designs show influence from Central Asia and Tibet. The shawls are made using the extra-weft technique of weaving.
A Kanal brass set was given to Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez. Kanal is a 1-metre-long straight brass trumpet played in parts of Himalayan India. It has a prominent bell resembling a ‘datura’ flower. It is used during ceremonies such as the procession of village deities. It is also used to welcome the leaders of the Himachal Pradesh. It is lip reed musical instrument, and has broader base as the saucer has 44 cm diameter and the remaining portion is brass conical hollow tube. These traditional musical instruments are now increasingly used as décor objects and are manufactured in Mandi and Kullu districts of Himachal Pradesh.
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