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Papier maché ornament painters

Papier maché ornament painters

Photographer: Unknown

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1895

Shelfmark: Photo 15/10(7)

Item number: 7

Length: 15.2

Width: 20.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of papier maché ornament painters in the modern-day state of Jammu and Kashmir in India, taken by an unknown photographer in the 1890s. This image shows the interior view of a studio, with workers surrounded by painted papier maché objects. In India the leaf of the palmyra palm was the first material used for writing and in the making of books. Kashmiri papier maché is famous for its decorative flower and bird designs, which owe much to the influence of Mughal art, and grew up in that area due to the introduction of the paper-making industry during the time of the Mughal Emperor Babur. Papier maché objects are either made by pasting layers of soaked paper onto a mould, or by putting paper pulp into a mould and allowing it to set. When the required thickness is achieved the surface is covered with a layer of chalk and glue and then burnished to give a smooth base for the painted designs. Today the usual background colour is black but for luxury items this is painted with gold and silver paint and sometimes even gold and silver leaf. In Kashmir and Northern India papier maché is traditionally used to make decorative items such as boxes, small tables, bowls, vases and trays. In Southern India it is used to make toys, dolls, puppets, figures of animals and birds, masks and figures of Hindu deities.

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