Learn about the rich Punjabi culture and traditions. Also read about Punjabi history.
LEATHERIt is a little known fact that the leather industry in the undivided Punjab was as highly developed as in any other province of India. Highly finished and artistic articles were made in Dera Ghazi Khan, Batala and Hoshiarpur. Swordslings and beltes from Peshawar, Bannu, Kohat, Derajat and Quetta were very beautifully embroide-red, In Quetta, dark red colour leather was used which was first ornamented with green and then embroidered with golden yellow silk in chain stitch, which is commonly employed on all leather products in Rajasthan and Gujarat. The patterns embroidered are minute circles compacted between parallel lines. Similarly embroidered designs could also be seen on the Katordaan (a vessel); here the flowers embroidered were much bigger and magenta silk threads were used extensively.
|The leather workers of Dera Ghazi Khan used thick but soft strips of leather obtained from Sambar skin and ornamented it with green leather and red and yellow embroidery in chain stitch. Instead of silk threads, wool was employed for embroidery.|
|The leather workers located in the region from Peshawar to Quetta were known as postindoz meaning that they produced only fancy objects in leather such as pocket-book covers, water bottles (chagul), gun powder flasks, bullet cases, flint and steel pouches attached to the frontier belts known as qamarkhisa. All these articles were exquisitely made and embroidered in the most attractive and aesthetically appealing designs. The curved neck of the powder flask not only added to its graceful shape but served a functional purpose, i.e. it could be moulded from one piece over a clay block and subsequently washed out or it could be built up of pieces each richly embossed or engraved after having been beaten into the required shape. It may be noted that these postindoz never made shoes, for they regarded it below their dignity.|
|Leather workers of Rawalpindi other than the postindoz made a wide variety of shoes popularly known as Peshawari jutti which was often embroidered with gold silk threads. Similarly designed and ornamented shoes were also made in Hashiarpur.|
|Lahore produced water bottles and leather bowls for hukkas. The latter were encased in brass and silver and decorated with green leather. The colour effects were achieved by smoking the leather and this process served also to harden the bowls. During this process, the leather was also polished to lend it a touch of richness. Small boxes, pencases, cigar boxes, dressing cases were manufactured in Anandpur in Hoshiarpur. For this purpose, black leather was used. On it ornamentation was done with green and other coloured portions were stitched with peacock feathers. The rest of the surface was embroidered with colourful silk threads. Among other objects made of leather, the ones deserving special notice are kuppis (phials) from Khairpur and Muzzaffargarh, and embroidered saddles for horses and camels from Lahore, Gujran-wala and Ferozepur. The balances used by Muslim shopkeepers had sides made of leather. Large size Kuppas (jars) and book-covers of leather were often given an artistic touch.|
Sources: Cultural Heritage of Punjab, K C Aryan