Kashmiri Walnut Wood Carving: An Image Gallery

in Image Gallery
Published on: 15 May 2020

Nikita Kaul

Nikita is currently pursuing PhD from the Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics. Her ethnographic research studies the networks and social milieu of walnut wood carving. Prior to this, she did her M-Phil from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Bombay.

Walnut wood carving is one of the most important crafts in Kashmir. There are plenty of karkhanas or workshops in the bylanes of downtown Srinagar where master craftsmen and assistants are engaged in creating exquisite pieces of furniture in walnut wood. The wood for carving comes from either the root or the trunk of the tree. The master craftsman who owns and/or heads the karkhana is called ustad and the skilled assistants who work alongside him are called karigars. The ustad sits in the centre and the karigars sit by his side as they engage in the woodwork. The craftsmanship of walnut wood carving includes three sub-categories of craftwork: joinery or carpentry, carving and polishing. Each karigar undergoes a process of vigorous apprenticeship to acquire the respective skills. The images on display here are taken from within the workshop.