Usta art

Usta art

Usta art is a generic term used for the media of Naqqashi and Manoti art practiced by Usta artisans from the erstwhile Bikaner State in present-day Rajasthan, India. Naqqashi and Manoti is characterised by painting miniature translucent and opaque watercolour and oil based floral patterns on objects, camel leather, and architectural elements with gold. Naqqashi are items that are unembossed gold layers and Manoti are items that are embossed gold layers.The art of Naqqashi and Manoti flourished between the late-16th to mid-19th century in the Bikaner State. By the mid-20th Century Hisam-ud-din Usta was the only artisan remaining who understood the secrets to this proprietory Usta art. Hisam-ud-din Usta trained one member of his immediate family in the art of Naqqashi and Manoti, his grandson Jamil Usta, and a few other members of the Bikaner Usta community. Jamil Usta and a few other members of the Usta family presently still produce Naqqashi and Manoti art objects in Bikaner city.

Usta is a professional caste of artists, and the word "Usta" derives from the Persian word of استاد "Ustad", meaning master or skilled person.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF USTA ART
In Bikaner city, the USTA ART has been founded to be in lime light and glorious heights since 16th-17th century. Originally the so called USTA ART, the Art of Golden Painting and embossing on the Camel Hides, was brought to India by Mughal Emperors. They also brought with them a sect of artist in this art from Iran. This art came to the Indian Courts of Emperors at the very initial state that may be called its prime youth. After this rare and historical art reached India, the honour and pride of bringing this art to Bikaner goes to Former Ruler His Highness Rai Singh of Bikaner who was a general in the Court of Emperor Akbar, and was contemporary of Jahangir. After being highly impressed by these arts he request express Akbar to allow some of the experts in this art to work in Bikaner. By accepting this request he fulfill Raja Rai Singh desire, Akbar sent seven Usta artists to work in the Court of Bikaner state. At that time the following were the main expert USTA Artists among those whose feet first touched the land of Bikaner (A group of seven Usta artists paintings can be seen even today in the rooms of the Junagarh fort, Bikaner) :-
Ali Raja ji Usta, Shah Mohammad ji Usta, Loofa ji Usta, Nuruddin ji Usta, Ruknuddin ji Usta, Nathu ji Usta, Ahmed ji Usta.

WHAT IS THE USTA ART Usta is a professional caste of artists, and the word "Usta" derives from the Persian word of استاد " Ustad", meaning master or skilled person. The art is a generic term used for the media of Naqqashi and Manoti art practiced by Usta artisans from the erstwhile Bikaner State in present-day Rajasthan, India. Naqqashi and Manoti is characterised by painting miniature translucent and opaque watercolour and oil based floral patterns on objects, camel leather, and architectural elements with gold. Naqqashi are items that are unembossed gold layers and Manoti are items that are embossed gold layers. From metal and stone to camel hide, the art of Usta is done by the master craftsmen of Bikaner on walls, ceilings and pillars of forts and castles too.

The major manifestations of Usta art in Bikaner can be seen in such places as Phool Mahal, Chandra Palace, Anoop Palace and Karan Palace. Being part of the famous Junagarh fort of Bikaner, all these places have become synonymous to the identity of Usta art. Also, Rampuria Havelis, the Mazaar of Amir Khushro, Nizamudin Oliya and Dargah Ajmer Sharif are some of the prominent locations where one can find the finest imprints of Usta art.

Today Bikaner is regarded as one of the exclusive places of Rajasthan where the Usta art has become a part of its heritage due to the extraordinary efforts of people like these:

Recipients of NATIONAL AWARD
1. Hisamuddin Usta - 1967
2. Zahiruddin Usta - 1990
3. Muhammad Hanif Usta - 1991

Recipients of STATE AWARD
1. Zahiruddin Usta - 1984
2. Muhammad Asghar Usta - 1985
3. Muhammad Hanif Usta - 1988
4. Ajmal Hussain Usta - 1993

External links

[http://www.uniqueidea.net/usta_art.htm Usta art]


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