Crafts of West Bengal Ethnic Arts & Crafts

The Rich Heritage of Santiniketan Leather Goods: A Living Tradition of Artisanal Craftsmanship in West Bengal

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

ॐ श्री गुरुभ्यो नमः ॐ श्री शिवानन्दाय नमः ॐ श्री चिदानन्दाय नमःॐ श्री दुर्गायै नमः 

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Santiniketan Leather Goods are leather products made in Santiniketan and surrounding villages near Kolkata in West Bengal.

The material used is vegetable tanned leather with art work done by touch dyeing. 

Shantiniketan’s artistic leather bags are popular in foreign markets and are exported to many countries including Japan and the U.S. They are generally made of E. I. Leather (East India Leather) – the leather from sheepskin and goatskin.

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This product has been registered for protection under the List of  Geographical indications of the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement.

In July 2007, it was listed as ‘Santiniketan Leather Goods’ under the GI Act 1999 of the Government of India.

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Production was started as a cottage industry about 80 years ago in a few villages surrounding Santiniketan and marketed at the Bhuban Danga Market.

The craftsmen of the villages were trained under the Rural Development Programme of Visva-Bharati University at Santiniketan.

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Process of Manufacture

The vegetable tanned skins used in production have the quality of permanently retaining the embossed imprint of motifs or Batiks.

A cotton pad or a glass, which has a smooth surface, is used to make the grains of the leather shine

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Raw Materials

The raw materials used in making these goods are classified according to the grain quality and smoothness as E.I.

Tanned leathers of sheepskin or goatskin that are dyed with vegetable colours.

Three leather types are defined : ‘Paper’ which has a coarse grain and spots is the skin of larger goats or sheep, and ‘Bind’ and ‘Kid’ which are both derived from smaller animals and are of superior quality.

Other materials used to make the final product include paper board of varying thickness, cotton, velvet or silk for lining, foam rubber for padding, natural dyes and spirit, rubber solution, and assorted sundries

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The E.I. tanned leathers, which are marketed in rolls with three or four skins, are coated with a preservative of Epsom salt to inhibit oxidation.

The skins, after intensive washing, are immersed in a wooden vat or pit. They are then taken out and flattened by pulling and then dried.

After drying, designs are drawn on the leather and the leather is cut to the required size to make the desired products

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The products manufactured and marketed are in the form of coin bags, chappal, handbags, pouches, jewelry boxes, pencil boxes, eyeglass covers, bags, ladies’ bags, piggy banks, cushion covers, sandals, wallets, and many more

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Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Introducing Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar - a specialist academically trained in modern Western sciences, yet deeply enamored with India's timeless ethnic arts, crafts, and textiles. Her heart beats for the rich and glorious cultural and spiritual heritage of India, and she has dedicated her entire blog to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide. Through her simple yet impactful blog posts, Mala aims to reach every nook and corner of the globe, sharing India's beauty and wisdom with the world.

But Mala doesn't stop at just sharing her own thoughts and ideas. She welcomes constructive criticisms and suggestions to improve her blog and make it even more impactful. And if you share her passion for India's culture and heritage, she extends a warm invitation for high-quality guest blog posts.

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