70-year-old man trying to keep ancient art of bone carving alive Art / Handicraft

Bone carving is a pre-historic art form of sculpting animal bones, particularly antlers and horns, into ornamental decor pieces, statues, musical instruments and other useful objects. However, with the changing times and things easily available online, urban people have forgotten this age-old art form. But Abrar Ahmad, a 70-year-old man from Uttar Pradesh, is still trying to keep the ancient art of bone carving alive.

According to Ahmad, he has introduced the art of bone carving to people in Mailaraihanj, a small village in the Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh. Living in a small house, he still continues to use his skills of bone carving to create various decorative and practical object.

For the carving, he uses bone and horns of animals that have naturally died. Before giving the shapes, the bones are beaten so that attain a certain amount of flexibility for moulding into various shapes. His dedication to this ancient art has even got him prestigious mentions in the handicraft world. He even won the State Handicraft Award in 2009.

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A jewellery box made by Ahmad

In ancient time, bones and ivories were used as hunting tools. But slowly people started using bones to sculpt beautiful artifacts. Even today, various contemporary designers like to use this material to create fancy monuments or decor pieces. Most of these modern bone-carved art pieces are sold for three to four times more than the value of the final product.

Sadly, the artists like Ahmad, who have dedicated their whole life to this ancient art form are earning less than a daily wage labourer. Although it is said that the demand for such products have fallen, but Ahmad still believes that through fairs, exhibitions and reaching bigger markets this form of handicraft will make a comeback.

Ahmad is even passing his knowledge to the new generation through a training program under the Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development (USTTAD) Scheme. Even Digital Empowerment Foundation will train Ahmad to use new-age tools to make his artworks more accurately with great finesse. Hopefully, the youth today will accept this art form and even try to create something more interesting out of it – provided no animals are hurt or killed for creating fancy objects.

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Via: TheBetterIndia

Monika has been writing about trending artifacts across diverse platforms for over three years. Her all-time fascination with both traditional and non-traditional artworks led her to explore the world of art and humanities. She founded EdgyMinds in 2016 to discover emerging artists and indulge her passion for creativity. Connect with her at Facebook I Twitter I G Plus