THE ANCESTRAL OCCUPATION OF THE Hindu Suthar community,the craft of wood carving is practiced in the districts of Patan and Ahmedabad,although the legacy of exquisite wood carving seen in the traditional havelis,mansions,is evident in all the districts of Gujarat.Patan district is renowned for the intricately carved Bohra haveli or mansions at Siddhpur;these structures are characterized by their eclectic use of geometric or floral patterns as well as motifs inspired by European and West Asian decorative elements on the woodwork of the balconies and ceilings.The wooden architecture of Ahmedabad on the other hand,acquires its distinctive aesthetic through the use of
patterns borrowed from block printing and textile;the surface of the house front is minutely carved in floral patterns that clearly evidence their source of inspiration.With the changing social fabric of these regions and drastic alteration in construction materials,wood carving ceased to be employed as a means of enhancing the domestic architecture of the resident communities.Consequently,the Suthars have diverted their skills towards the ornamentation of doors,windows,railings,pillars,staircases;traditional items like rath(chariot),chabutara (pigeon house)and mininature temples for homes.
- A carved staircase that leads from a sidewing near the entrance to the upper storey,Bohra haveli,Siddhpur.
- View of the upper story of a Bohra house in Siddhpur in the Indo-Islamic Gujarati tradition of architecture.Bohra houses are typically introverted dwellings that have a multifunctional core in the form of a courtyard.Houses in a Bohrwad are typically grouped around a street that forms a mohalla;several mohallas form a Bohrwad-a large Bohrwad is generally interwoven with religion/social edifices such as a madrasa(mosque),a jamat khana (community hall)and other buildings for collective functions.As seen here,the facades of Bohra dwellings sport elaborate ornamentation as per regional norms in contrast to most of the Muslim world,as the Bohras attach a lot of significance to display and decoration as an expression of their social status and an extension of their religious belief for cleanliness and personalization through intricate detailing and decorative elements.
|Silver-coated wooden objects|
|Chopan-tool for silver-coated objects|
|Chopaan-thick edge tool|
|Nakhiyu-tool to carve circular shapes|