Trends Evaluation in Wooden Folding Screen of Saharanpur

Aayushi Verma & Ila Gupta

Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Uttarakhand, India

 Volume 6, Number 1, 2016 I Full Text PDF


In the current scenario, everything is uncertain and changeable where innovative ideas are developed and experimented by individuals with strong curiosity and inspiration towards the development of the nation. Here, art and craft play a crucial role which requires novelty with aesthetic sensibility and utility too. In craft domain, Wooden folding Screen (WFS) has become an integral part and a status symbol of life that creates harmony and peaceful ambiance in living space. WFS is considered as free standing furniture for the utility and embellishment of living space with aesthetic notion. In this regard, Saharanpur is known as one of the largest hubs of wood carving where wooden folding screen demonstrates the magnificent, classy and romantic appearance which is associated with elaborate carving, inlay and outlay work with traditional motifs. WFS of Saharanpur has been constructed the remarkable identity which throws light on its all aspects like functional, aesthetical and economical as well as quality consideration. Since the sixties till today, WFS of Saharanpur is being experimented and improved by artisan with new techniques, medium and designs. In present time, we see the upgrade version of WFS of Saharanpur woodcraft, but still need to improve more for advancement. This study explores the patterns and materials of WFS of Saharanpur with changing trends. This study brings to light on the old patterns of the WFS of Saharanpur verse the new one. In addition, the conclusive remark highlights the certain recommendations for innovation.

Keywords: Folding Screen, Saharanpur, Patterns, and Changing Trends.


In the ancient time, the concept of interior decoration has been introduced by humans to decorate the living space from ancient time. They gradually developed and exposed his aesthetic sense knowingly or unknowingly. In interior decoration, artifacts like furniture, paintings and crafts create a magic in living space and leave a remarkable identity on spectators. Concerning to this, WFS reflects a device or an instrument that is movable, serviceable and aesthetically pleasing. It functions as a multipurpose room dividing wall that can be easily warehoused away when not in usage (Yagi & Hata, 1992).  Furthermore, it is often installed in house, restaurants, bars and office to maintain the privacy and convenience because it covers large space and generate a romantic aura.

With the arrival of the Mughals monarchs, the development and production of WFS were introduced in India and flourished rapidly in the various regions that came under the Mughals authority. Among these areas, Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh state of India which came under the authority of various rulers such as Maurya’s, Gupta’s, Sultanate, Lodhi’s, Mughal’s, Maratha’s and British ruler has been acknowledged as a hub of woodcraft.  It was during the Mughals that Saharanpur linked with artistic activity. “As a result, in 1817, after the collapse of Mughal rule in Kashmir, some wood carvers from Kashmir settled here for their livelihood” (Handa & Jain, 2000). Wulff (1966) stated that in Kashmir, the tradition of wood carving was introduced by the Persian artisans, who had been in this craft tradition since the days of the Armenian kings. Hence, WFS of Saharanpur came under the influence of Persian tradition as well as Mughal taste. It can be seen through design elements of WFS of Saharanpur. The WFS are mostly made in three and five pieces. In present scenario, WFS of Saharanpur has made a different identity with improved motifs and secured a reputed place. As per the modern requirements of the user, four panel screens are in trend which is placed in zig zag Position. The purpose of this paper is to explain the modernization of WFS of Saharanpur through different ways. The concluding remarks highlight the certain recommendation for improvement of WFS of Saharanpur.

Research Methodology

The research is constructed on primary as well as secondary data taken from market survey and relevant books, articles and journals. The main focus of the present study  is to analyze the new version of WFS of Saharanpur with transformation through  designs and materials and aiming to promote WFS of Saharanpur in national and international market with a new outlook.

 Growing Need of Modernization

In the present scenario, within the discourse of modernization, craft sector has received the attention and offers immense possibilities of innovation. In the context of emerging knowledge, changing needs, tastes and lifestyles are the major components which force us to delve something new in material, designs and technology for development and improvement of the market culture. In this regard, before the sixties, the artisans were practicing their age old technique of production and produce the traditional patterns for their artifacts. Due to collapse of imperial rulers and after the independence of India, Saharanpur woodcraft came under the process of improvement which was the requirement of time. Because the aimed of artisans were to satisfy customers as per their requirements with changing taste. Therefore, new concepts and opportunities have been absorbed by artisans and customers and still applying in WFS of Saharanpur with a new body with an old soul.

Journey of Modernization through Design elements of WFS

The only authentic local history book, Saharanpur Sandarbh, informs that in the early stage of woodcraft, the grapevine motif was very prominent which was carved out with different shapes, quinquanglar leaves, borders and simple design. Gradually, the sense of aesthetic was developed in the artisans, as a result, various patterns were investigated from the various artifacts like monuments build during Sultanate and Mughal ages are found engraved or carved on wood. The reflection of these monuments can be seen in the woodcraft, traditional old havelis and temples located primarily from Saharanpur and adjoining areas. It was the excellent way to conserve the culture. Between 1965 and 1970 WFS of Saharanpur came under the strong influence of Kashmiri craft; as a result, the form of Chinar tree leaves in the engraving was borrowed to enhance the beauty Saharanpur woodcraft (fig. 1). To cover the large surface the artisans have used Kashmiri motifs of woodcarving which have changed with modernized forms. The decade of 1970 brought engraved paintings which were made with the help of fulki and tahki. These engraved designs became famous as an alternative of paintings. Meanwhile, between 1975 and 1980 large variety of geometrical patters were introduced in WFS and became famous (fig.3). The motifs of WFS can be grouped into the four categories like vegetative motif, zoomorphic, figurative and geometrical motifs…Full Text PDF