Tortoise Shell and Ivory Carving of Daman and Diu

Bone, Horn, Shell, Ivory

Tortoise Shell and Ivory Carving of Daman and Diu

Brahmna Khsatriya is a community of traditional carvers who make ivory bangles worn by the women of Kohli and Kharwa communities on their wedding day. Earrings, rings and hair clips are also crafted using this technique. The process starts with cleaning of ivory block in hydrogen peroxide which helps to reduce the yellowness which is then fixed on the sangheda/ lathe using chand ras and cut into hollow cylinders. They are then cut into discs and made into bangles or rings. Henceforth the articles are mounted on the sigra for carving, colouring and polishing. Pipes of acrylic and plastic have replaced ivory for imitation of ivory artifacts since it is now prohibited. The replicas of ivory bangles are usually coloured in red and green acrylics.

Diu is extremely well-known for carved tortoise-shell articles since they are found in abundance on its shores. This has aided in the growth and development of a multitude of tortoise shell products. The shell is divided in 13 pieces that include five back pieces, two wing plates, two shoulder pieces and four main plates. In the process they are cleaned, softened by steaming and shaped by the craftsman into rings, bangles and earring. Many layers are stuck together while cleaning to achieve the thickness of shells. The articles are then finally polished. Other than ornaments artisans turn these shells into everyday household items and gift items. Tools used in this technique are chand raas/ glue, polish, carving tools and lathe.




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