Sikkim is renowned for its dazzling and appealing beauty. The charm of this state is ever enticing and no one can abstain from its allure. Sikkim is resplendent with not only its natural beauty but with its art and craft too. The cultural richness of Sikkim is visible in its quality handicrafts. The Government of Sikkim is making constant efforts to keep the arts & crafts alive. Keeping the idea in mind, the Govt. has established the Handicraft and Handloom Institute, to preserve and promote traditional cottage art and craft of genuine Sikkimese design.
The institution is a reservoir of eye-catching handicraft and handlooms like carpets, wood carved furniture, thankas, and canvas wall hangings. Sikkimese carpets are especially known for being hand-knotted with artistic designs. The handicrafts of Sikkim have a kind of appeal in them, whether it is a fantastic woven carpet or an amazing ‘choktse’ table, everything is just wonderful. People from India as well as abroad, stroll the markets to grab hold of the crafts of Sikkim. In the following lines, we have tried to give a glimpse of Sikkimese handicrafts.
Sikkimese’s practice of weaving is probably the oldest form of carpet weaving in the world. The women of the Bhutia community are said to be expert carpet weavers. The traditional pattern of weaving requires a frame loom. The exclusive manner of weaving, by the hard-working artisans of Sikkim, appears in the designs of striking carpets.
The wood carving in Sikkim is symbolic of the true art of India. Throughout Sikkim, one can trace monasteries and buildings, festooned with symbols and icons carved in wood. The mask dance of Sikkim is also portrayed in wood carvings. You can find superb masks made out of wood and papier-mâché. Pemayangtse Monastery is a fine specimen of carved wooden sculptures and wood carvings.
Thangka Paintings are unique to the state of Sikkim. Initially, these paintings were the only medium to preach the highest ideals of Buddhism. ‘Thangkas’ are usually made on cotton canvas with a frame of silk. These paintings portray images of different Gods, Goddesses, and philosophies related to Buddhism. Originally, paintings were made by priests and monks, later the skills got passed from generation to generation. Today, the commercialization of this art is helping monasteries and practitioners to earn a living.
The native Sikkimese weaves various striking designs and patterns. They weave woolen blankets, bags, shawls, and jackets with the reflection of their mastery over the art. The ‘thankas’ (traditional tapestry), leather works, dolls, multicolored applique work, batiks, a fine collection of dolls, and a range of fashionable garments are the additional specialties of Sikkim. To develop and promote such industries, the government has established an institute of cottage industries. The local handicrafts are available here on sale.
Choktse is a kind of foldable table and has become a special product of Sikkim. Choktse Tables are renowned here as well as outside India. These tables are made in different designs and dimensions.