Applique Art

Odisha’s Applique Art: A Vibrant Craft Tradition

Applique Art

Odisha, also known as Orissa, is a state in eastern India with a rich cultural heritage. One of the state’s most celebrated art forms is Applique, a traditional craft that involves cutting, stitching, and layering pieces of cloth to create intricate designs. Odisha’s Applique art is famous for its vibrant colors and intricate patterns, making it a favorite of art enthusiasts worldwide.

History and Origins of Applique Art

The Applique art form has a long and rich history in Odisha. It dates back to the 12th century when it was used to decorate temple fabrics and cloths used for ceremonial purposes. Over the years, the art form evolved and gained popularity as an essential part of Odisha’s cultural identity. Today, it is an essential craft for many communities in the state, including the Pipli artisans of Puri district, who are renowned for their skill in creating Applique work.

Technique and Materials used in Applique Art

The Applique technique involves cutting out motifs from a base fabric, usually in geometric or floral shapes, and then sewing them onto another fabric. The artisans use bright, vibrant colors of cloth and sequins to create intricate patterns, often depicting scenes from Hindu mythology, nature, or day-to-day life. The technique requires a high level of skill and precision, and the finished products are often breathtaking works of art.

The artisans use a variety of materials for their craft, including cotton, silk, and velvet fabrics. They also use mirrors, beads, and other embellishments to add a touch of sparkle and shine to their creations.

Significance and Cultural Importance

Applique art is not just an aesthetic craft; it also has cultural and religious significance in Odisha. Many of the designs depict scenes from Hindu mythology, such as Lord Jagannath and his siblings, which are an essential part of the state’s culture and religion. The craft is also an important source of income for many artisans in the state, who rely on it to support their families.

Promoting and Preserving the Art Form

The government of Odisha has taken several steps to promote and preserve the state’s Applique art. It has established several centers for artisans to showcase their work and also provides training and financial assistance to help them improve their skills and expand their businesses. Additionally, many NGOs and private organizations are working to promote the art form by providing support to the artisans, organizing exhibitions, and conducting workshops.


Odisha’s Applique art is a vibrant and colorful craft that is an essential part of the state’s cultural heritage. The art form is not only visually stunning but also has religious and cultural significance. By promoting and preserving this traditional craft, we can help ensure that future generations can continue to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of Odisha’s Applique art.

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