Discover the Fascinating Art of Furniture Carving
Wood and furniture carving is one of the oldest arts of humankind, and human beings across the world have been using wood as the canvas for their creativity for thousands of years. In Asia, especially the Indian subcontinent , the art of furniture carving has been passed down through generations, and even today, artisans continue to use traditional techniques to create stunning pieces of furniture. At Rooh for Spaces, we draw inspiration from these ancient practices to create furniture that is not only functional but made for the life less ordinary. In this blog, we will explore the intricacies of this ancient art, and discover some of our pieces that infuse your homes with the magic of Indian furniture carving!
Lasting the Test of Time- A Brief History of Furniture Carving in India
The art of furniture carving in India dates back to the Indus Valley civilization, where craftsmen used to carve figurines and ornaments out of various materials like stone, wood, and ivory. With the advent of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam in India, furniture carving evolved and grew to become an integral part of Indian culture. The Mughal Empire, which ruled India from the 16th to the 18th centuries, was known for its support of the arts. The Mughal emperors were great patrons of art, music, and literature, and they employed the best craftsmen from across the country to create intricate works of art that reflected their opulent lifestyle.
Indian furniture carving techniques are highly intricate and complex, requiring a great deal of skill and precision. The artisans who practise this art form are skilled in using a variety of tools to create stunning designs and patterns on furniture. Some of the beautiful Indian carving techniques include:
Jali Carving: Jali carving is a technique of creating intricate lattice patterns by cutting and carving wood or stone. This technique is commonly used in Indian furniture to create screens, partitions, and window panels.
Brass Inlay: Brass inlay is a technique of embedding brass or other metals into wood, to create decorative patterns on tables and cabinets.
Bone Inlay: Bone inlay is a technique of embedding small pieces of bone into wood or other materials, creating intricate designs on desks, serveware, and designer coffee tables.
The Timeless Motifs and Symbols of Indian Carvings
One of the most important aspects of traditional Indian furniture carving is the use of symbolism. Many of the designs that are carved into furniture pieces have deep cultural and spiritual significance. For example, the lotus is a common motif in traditional Indian furniture carving. Considered a sacred flower in many Indian religions, the lotus is often associated with purity, enlightenment, and rebirth. Another common motif is the elephant, a symbol of strength, wisdom, and good fortune in many Indian cultures. It is often depicted with intricate carvings and decorations, and is a popular choice for decorative stools, tables, and other furniture pieces.
In addition to the use of symbolism, traditional Indian furniture carving also emphasises the use of natural materials and techniques. Many of the furniture pieces that are crafted using traditional Indian carving techniques are made from solid wood, such as teak, rosewood, acacia or mango wood. The use of natural materials not only creates a beautiful and durable piece of furniture but also ensures that each piece is unique and has its own character.
Further in this blog, we will focus on two particular styles of carving that represent the rich diversity of living art that continues to thrive in the melting pot called India!
The ‘Warli’ Way of Carving Furniture
The Warlis are an ancient tribe that inhabit the rugged hills and forests of Maharashtra. They are renowned for their unique style of painting and carving, characterised by simple geometric patterns and shapes. Their carvings involve intricate designs on wooden objects, including doors, windows, and furniture. The designs are typically created using a chisel and hammer and feature geometric shapes such as circles, triangles, and squares.
The designs are often inspired by nature, with many featuring motifs such as trees, animals, and birds. One of the unique aspects of Warli carving is that it is often done on reclaimed wood. This means that the artisans are able to give new life to old wooden objects, transforming them into works of art that are both beautiful and functional. In addition to being used for decorative purposes, Warli carving is also used to create everyday objects such as kitchen utensils, bowls, and plates. These objects are often passed down from generation to generation and are cherished as family heirlooms.
Curating the rare arts of India and bringing them to your homes in Singapore has been one of the aims of Rooh for Spaces! With the stunning Warli Handcarved Wood Side Tables & a Treasure Chest of Drawers, both carved from mango wood, we make your spaces come to life with the timeless art of the Warlis!
Bring Home the Radiance of Rajasthan!
The desert state of Rajasthan is known for its rich cultural heritage and craftsmanship. One of the most notable aspects of Rajasthani culture is its exquisite wooden furniture, which is characterised by intricate carving and detailed craftsmanship.The designs often feature floral and geometric patterns, as well as images of animals and deities from Hindu mythology.
One of the most famous arts of Rajasthan is Jharokha Carving, a traditional form of carved windows that adorn the facades of buildings, particularly palaces and forts. The word "jharokha" literally translates to "a projecting window," and these ornate structures have been a defining feature of Rajasthani architecture for centuries. The carvings are often made of hardwood, such as teak, and are characterised by their elaborate geometric designs and intricate motifs.
The process of carving a jharokha begins with the selection of the wood, which is then shaped and cut into the desired size and shape. The design is then carefully drawn onto the wood, and the carving process begins. Traditional tools such as chisels, hammers, and saws are used to carefully chip away at the wood, creating intricate patterns and designs. The finished jharokha is then polished and often painted with bright colours to enhance its beauty. Today, jharokha carving continues to be an important part of Rajasthani culture and heritage, and is treasured for its beauty and craftsmanship.
Other popular Rajasthani furniture items include chairs, tables, and chests, which are also elaborately carved and decorated. The furniture is often finished with a high-gloss polish that brings out the natural beauty of the wood and makes the intricate carving stand out.
Traversing the divine landscape of Rajasthan, we have curated a range of handcrafted wooden home decor for Singapore residents, including the Windows of Hope Rustic Wall Mirrors (a beautiful full wall mirror design for living rooms), beautiful sideboards, and elegant wood-trunks, all of which offer you a rare mix of elegance and functionality!
Rooh for Spaces- Keeping the Art of Furniture Carving Alive!
The art of furniture carving is a complex and intricate process that requires patience, skill, and attention to detail. Today, the legacy of this rich cultural heritage lives on, and traditional Indian furniture carving remains a highly respected art form that is appreciated by people all over the world.
Many of these skilled artisans continue to work with traditional tools and techniques to create beautiful pieces of furniture and home decor. At Rooh for Spaces, we are committed to preserving this ancient art form and supporting the talented artisans who practise it. By creating furniture that incorporates traditional Indian designs and techniques, we are bringing soulful decor to homes in Singapore. Our furniture pieces are not just functional but also pieces of art that tell a story of India's rich cultural heritage.
In addition to the pieces mentioned above, we have a wide range of designer furniture in Singapore that incorporates traditional Indian carving. From intricately carved chairs and tables to decorative screens and chests, our solid wood furniture singapore pieces are all handcrafted using traditional techniques and materials. We use only the highest quality wood and materials to create furniture that is both beautiful and durable. Check out https://roohforspaces.sg/collections/furniture to find the perfect classic furniture in Singapore for your home!