Kashmir is the only part of India where walnut trees grow. Its color, grains and inherent sheen are unique and outstanding, and the carving and fretwork done on this wood is of supreme quality. There are two types of walnut trees the fruit bearing species whose wood is so well known, and one, which bears no fruit.
The intrinsic worth of the wood from each part of the tree differs- that from the root being the most expensive and the branches having the lowest price. Being one of the finest varieties of wood, a variety of carvings can be chiseled on walnut wood. The walnut wood is generally used to make several types of handicraft items with unique Kashmiri artistry.
The woodcarving is one of the best known cottage industries of the Kashmir valley. Wood carving is done on a variety of objects-ranging from furniture (tables, chairs, writing desks, dining tables etc.) to articles of personal use like cigarette boxes, cigar boxes, jewelry boxes, photo frames and various other articles.
Woodcarving is also done on a large scale on the doors, walls and windows of traditional Kashmiri houses. Popular motifs of such relief carvings are the various kinds of flowers and plants in Kashmir. These relief carvings require a high level of expertise, patience and fortitude. Substantial amounts of walnut and Chinar wood found abundant in the Kashmir valley allow a ready supply of raw materials for woodcarving.
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