Contemporary Art Gallery


Contemporary Art Gallery

Contemporary Crafts of Bikaner

The Ustas of Bikaner are a community of craftsmen par excellence. They are adept in stone carving, painted stuccowork and embellishment of camel hide oil bottles. Most of the sandstone filigreework in the facades and balconies of the palaces of Bikaner is the creation of Usta stone carvers. Similarly, the painted stuccowork on the ceiling of rooms in the old fort was done by the ancestors of the present-day Ustas. However, the ustas are most renowned for their ornately adorned camel hide bottles. The camel skin is first softened, then stretched over a clay mould of the desired forms and, when set, the clay is washed out, bottles, goblets – and nowadays – lampshades of different shapes and sizes are made in this manner and adorned with raised floral patterns, coloured with lustrous pigments.

Example of Contemporary stonework by the Master Craftsman Zaharuddin Usta and those of camel hide work by another equally talented Hanif Usta, both from Bikaner, are shown here.

Raju Swami, a highly acclaimed and talented Bikaner painter of miniatures, has shown some of his works in this room. Raju Swami and his brother Mukesh swami have also painted the murals on the entrance gate to the Museum.