As many as 184 artisans from minority communities showcased the traditional arts and crafts of their native lands at the just concluded India International Trade Fair(IITF) here. Crafts life chikan embroidery from Uttar Pradesh to the Madhubani paintings of Bihar, as well as the pottery works from southern and north-eastern regions of the country, were up for grabs at the 'Hunar Haat' during the 9-day-long fair at Pragati Maidan here. Organised by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, the initiative was aimed at uplifting the minority communities across the country. The Haat comprised of 100 stalls, which were provided to the artisans free of cost. 27-year-old Rojen Laishram from Manipur showcased the distinct 'longpi pottery' done in black serpentinite rock. The artform has been practiced for generations by the Tangkhul Naga tribes of the Ukhrul region in the state. Laishram's stall exhibited tea-kettles made out of the black rock, in different shapes and sizes. The uniqueness of the pottery lay in the rock's rich black texture, Laishram said. "These kettles are made of black stone (serpertenite rock) and clay which is only available in Manipur. They are hand-made as the ingredients are mixed and made into dough before being moulded by hand to make variety of objects. Later, the polishing is done.
They are heated in kiln and then covered with leaves known as chilon-na," he explained. Serpentinite rock is also believed to be good for health. "When you pour water or tea in this kettle, it changes the flavour. It is also chemical free," he said. On the other corner of the 'haat' was Shameel from Kerala, surrounded by rosewood handicrafts. The 39-year-old artisan had brought over 200 different products made from rosewood - wall clocks, idols, jewellery boxes etc. "Rosewood with its beautiful designs and shades is unmatched in terms of beauty and durability. Also, rosewood has lifetime guarantee on the products," he said. The heavily embroidered Kashmiri shawls and stoles also made their way to the trade fair, where Muzaffar Ahmad from Pulgam brought exquisite hand-made products from the Valley. The Haat also had on display products in Bhagalpuri Silk from Bihar; marble work from Rajasthan; handicrafts from Gujarat; Pashmina and bronze work from Kashmir; and seashell products from Odisha. Ayurvedic and Unani healthcare, glass artefacts and Indian silk-cotton work were also be a part of the exhibition. The trade fair which opened to public on November 19 came to a close last evening.
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