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Kutch is a district of Gujarat state in western India. It has a rich and diverse creative tradition and is known for its handicrafts such as Ajrakh block print, bandhini, embroidery, shawl weaving, metal bells, mashru weaving, Rogan art and leather crafts.
Bhujodi is one of the known villages in Kutch known for its handicrafts and a wide range of craft is practice in this village. Embroidery work can be seen in entire village and these embroidery works are done by the rabri women. Leather work is practiced in several villages across Kutch that includes Hodka, Bhujodi and Sumrasar. The crafts of bhujodi include shawl weaving, leather articles, embroidery works. Leather shoe making is one among the famous crafts of bhujodi.
Protecting the foot was probably one of the main reasons people started wearing shoes. Leather is a durable and flexible material created by tanning animal rawhide and skin. From prehistoric times the skins of animal to satisfy the basic needs and make various items footwear’s, belts, clothing’s etc., The skin of large (dead) animals such as cattle and horses are referred to as hides. Those of smaller animals such as sheep, goats and calves are called skins.
The three types of hides and skins most often used in leather manufacture are from goat, buffalo, and camel. Before these leathers are used for making any leather articles these undergo a process called tanning. Tanning is the process of converting raw hides or skins into leather. Hides and skins have the ability to absorb tannic acid and other chemical substances that prevent them from decaying, make them resistant to wetting, and keep them supple and durable.
The leather was introduced during the Neolithic times. The oldest very well-known piece of leather footwear is the Areni-1 shoe that was made in Armenia by a team of archaeologist around 3500 BCE. The shoe is around 5, 5000 years old.
Narsi bhai bijlani is a master craftsman, he says that they are basically from Pakistan and they are moved to India during the war between India and Pakistan. Working with leather is their family business, which is been practiced by their family since many years. Leathers are bought from the leather dealers and the leathers are purchased in bulk costs INR 700/- to 800/- per kg. Embroideries on slippers are usually made by the woman’s and the price of the products ranges on the design and the patterns. It starts from INR 200/- to 300/-.