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Papier Mache

The papier mache technique of using paper pulp for making decorative objects was first adopted in Kashmir in the 15th century by King Zain-ul-Abidin.

Papier Mache

The traditional Kashmiri method of making Paper mache starts with waste paper which is soaked in water for several days until it disintegrates. The excess water is drained and the soaked waste paper, cloth, rice straw and bonding agents are mixed to form a pulp. This mixture is placed in a mould and left to dry for two to three days. On the drying of pulp, the shape is cut away from the mould in two halves and then glued again. The surface is coated with the layer of glue and gypsum, rubbed smooth with a stone or baked piece of clay and pasted with layers of tissue paper. A base color is painted on, and now the item is ready for the artist to grace it with his design.

Paper mache is one of the most beautiful handicrafts of Kashmir. The construction of paper mache products has two essential processes which involves making of the object and cleaning of forest pine Kaylier (one of the pine variety). It is believed that the craft has traveled from Iran to Kashsmir and was introduced by King Zainul Abidin. Iranian name of the craft is Kari Qalamdane which means a pen stand. There are a variety of items prepared by the craftsmen of Kashmir which have beautiful designs and colours and include pen stands, coasters, jewellery boxes, flower vases, lamp shades, trays, photo frames and decorative bowls";" all of which have demand out side the country too. Some of the items have pure silver or gold dust sprinkled onto them to increase their beauty. Traditionally, wood based paper mache is coated with a skinny stratum of stretched sheep skin which is well fitted for colouring pigments. The objects generally have dark background and suitable colours are black, green, blue and white. Designing on these objects requires skilled hands as the designing is very intricate.

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