Exquisite paintings, silver bowls, artworks, traditional musical instruments, and other curated craft pieces from Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat were some of the gifts that Prime Minister Narendra Modi showered on world leaders at the G20 summit in Bali.
Modi presented US President Joe Biden with Kangra miniature paintings from Himachal Pradesh. The paintings depict ‘Shringar Rasa’ (love) on a natural, organic backdrop. The style reached its zenith during the reign of Maharaja Sansar Chand Katoch. Katoch was a great patron of Kangra art. These paintings are made today by master painters from Himachal Pradesh using natural colours.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak received Mata Ni Pachedi, a handmade textile piece crafted by the nomadic community of Waghris in Gujarat. It is meant to be an offering in temples that house the Mother Goddess, as homage to the various incarnations of the goddess. The deity forms the central figure in the design, while being flanked by other story elements.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni was presented a Patan Patola (a scarf), a colourful dupatta. The scarf woven by the Salvi family in the Patan area of Northern Gujarat is so well-crafted that its front and reverse can’t be distinguished. The scarf is packed in a decorative ‘Sadeli’ box.
PM Modi gifted Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese a Pithora wall-painting made by the Rathwa artisans from Chhota Udaipur in Gujarat. These paintings are depictions of the cave paintings that the tribe used to make, reflecting the social, cultural and mythological life and beliefs of those tribals. The paintings bear a striking resemblance to the Aboriginal dot paintings of the indigenous communities of Australia.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was gifted a Kanal brass set from Himachal’s Mandi and Kullu districts. The Kanal brass set is a large, straight brass trumpet, over a metre long, played in parts of Himalayan India. It is used on ceremonial occasions, such as the processions of village deities. These are made in Mandi and Kullu districts of Himachal Pradesh by skilled metal craftspeople.
A Kinnauri shawl was presented to Indonesian President Joko Widodo. The design of this specific piece shows influences from Central Asia and Tibet. He was also gifted with a silver bowl from Surat. The silver bowl is a centuries-old craft perfected by the traditional and highly skilled metalsmiths of Surat.
Leaders of France, Germany and Singapore received Kutch’s ‘Agate Bowl’. The semi-precious stone, formed of chalcedonic-silica, is found in underground mines of Rajpipla and Ratanpur in riverbeds, and extracted to produce a variety of ornamental objects.
The craft has been passed down through generations of artisans since the Indus Valley civilization and is currently practised by artisans of Khambat. Agate can be seen in various contemporary designs as home decor objects as well as fashion jewellery. The healing powers attributed to agate stones have sustained the use of agate over centuries.