Leather embroidery as the name suggests is embroidery done on leather products. The animal that is most found in Rajasthan is camel and therefore the leather used for making the leather products in Rajasthan is obtained from camel.
Mojdis are a type of shoes made from leather and they have colourful embroidery done over them.
Embroidered leather bags are also beautiful and can be found easily in local markets of Rajasthan.
Other leather products with embroidery done on them are bracelets, hats, jewellery boxes, belts, wallets etc. These products work great with western wears as well and can be great souvenir gifts to take.
Mochi Bharat or leather embroidery is a style of embroidery that is common to most parts of this region. Mochi Bharat was actually developed for ornamenting leather objects and is usually done on shoes, animal saddles and trappings. In addition, gold and silver Zari are extensively used on accessories like leather belts, bags and wallets.
Usually, soft leather is used in this type of Rajasthani embroidery as it is easy to work on. Rajasthani women are often seen in their traditional dress Ghagra and Choli ornamented with this style of embroidery. Mochi Bharat is done through fine chain-stitch.
Above all, the craftsmen must be accorded their due recognition and respect for preserving these rare and precious crafts of Mochi Bharat, and keeping alive the rich and colourful heritage of the country.
There are several communities in Rajasthan involved in making products from leather, with each dealing with a separate process.
The people who flay the animals are distinct from the tanners who use a process locally known as Rangna.
The makers of saddle products are Jingarhs and the makers of musical instruments are Debgars. In the hands of the skillful artisan, the hide is transformed with skill and dexterity into a range of unusually beautiful products.
Another leather product is the knucklepad on which miniature landscapes and festive scenes are embroidered as in Rajput paintings.
The details of the embroidery are carefully worked out, especially of group compositions, and the scenes depicted include human figures, along with floral and bird designs.
Bikaner and Jaisalmer are known for ornately decorated leather saddles for horses and camels. Leather shields prepared with lacquer colour paint are made in Shahpura, though these are not in use any more.
Leather bookbinding in Alwar is of extremely good quality. Designs are painted on the leather after they are outlined with a brass block. The covers have borders either in various shades or on a gold coloured base.
One of the most popular leather articles of Rajasthan is the Mojadi or Jutti – an attractive footwear item. The leather is embroidered, punched, studded and stitched using various eye-catching designs. The best-known centres of traditional footwear are Jaipur and Jodhpur.
Kupi – a bottle made of camel hide to keep oil or ‘Attar’ (perfume) is a specialty of Bikaner. Leather is also an essential raw material for making musical instruments such as the Tabla, Dhol, Kamaycha etc. These instruments are used by Rajasthani folk musicians.
The renowned Jootis of Rajasthan are made from leather having artistically embroidered uppers. These Jootis are incredibly comfortable and sturdy.
Jaipur, Jodhpur, Barmer and Jaisalmer are traditionally known for this craft. Bikaner is known for its painted lamp shades, shields and vases made from camel hide.
Designer hand-bags, purses, belts, hats, stools and collapsible chairs with graphic embroideries made from leather at Tilonia village near Ajmer are also examples of excellent craftsmanship.