Vernacular Furniture
of India

Discover voices from the field

Diverse stories about vernacular furniture and their association with language, people, place, everyday and ritual use, crafts, and various socio-cultural aspects are integral to the findings of this research. Some of the stories and thematic narratives are presented in this section. The stories are a compilation of oral narratives as told by people who make and use vernacular furniture in their contexts.

Vernacular Furniture of North-West India

Vernacular furniture is used in the everyday life of people of a particular region or community. It is made by craftspeople using locally available materials. The Vernacular Furniture of North-West India Project is a research on vernacular furniture conducted by Design Innovation and Craft Resource Centre (DICRC), CRDF, CEPT University, India & The South Asian Decorative Arts and Crafts Collection Trust (SADACC), Norwich, UK.

Finding Vernacular Furniture in India

This story exhibits the framework and methodology developed to find vernacular furniture as part of the first-ever research project ‘Vernacular Furniture of North-West India’ conducted by Design Innovation and Craft Resource Centre (DICRC), CRDF, CEPT University and The South Asian Decorative Arts and Crafts Collection Trust (SADACC), UK.

Types of Vernacular Furniture from North-West India

Based on the findings of vernacular furniture from the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana, a detailed typology was created to categorize the furniture as a part of the project ‘Vernacular Furniture of North-West India’. This story exhibits the types of vernacular furniture classified into five categories.

Water Storage in Rajasthan: Adapting to Aridity

The reverence towards water is evident in the diversity of water pitcher storage in Rajasthan. The main types are ghaduchi, paniyara or parinda, and pendo. These water pitcher storages are an integral part of everyday life in Rajasthan. This exhibit is about the types of water storage in Rajasthan and their cultural reverence.

Handmade Granaries of Gujarat

This exhibit presents the vernacular granaries of Gujarat. Vernacular granaries of Gujarat can be classified as kothi, kothla and kabala. In the past, unlike today, when grains were available only seasonally, vernacular granaries were used to store surplus grain supply. In most parts of Gujarat, such granaries continue to be used, examples of which are presented in this story.

The Bridal Trousseau: Daaj Furniture

In the state of Punjab, vernacular furniture like sandook (cabinet), peti almari (chest) holds cultural importance as such furniture are given in daaj (bridal trousseau) to the girl in marriage. This exhibit displays the furniture items given in daaj.

Women & Crafting: Objects Across North-West India

Some of the vernacular furniture and objects are made by women in day-to-day life in the north-western states of India. This exhibit presents the stories of various furniture and objects crafted by women across north-west India.

Community Furniture: Creating Public Spaces

Vernacular furniture has been a crucial part of lives of people in north-west India. Furniture like paata (bench) and takhat (bench) have been used in public spaces for people to sit, socialise and rest. This story showcases the different types of paata and takhat used in public spaces across Rajasthan and Haryana.

Hookahs from Haryana: ‘Panchon ka Pyaala’

Hookah is a smoking pipe used by the people of Haryana. According to them, hookah is their pride and holds supreme importance in Haryanvi culture. Hookah in Haryana can be classified as hookah, hookhi, hookti or kali. This exhibit is an attempt to share the stories and crafting of hookah in Haryana.

Objects of Reminiscence

Vernacular furniture forms an important aspect of the material culture of communities in a region. These items are objects of reminiscence of people who used them, occasions that were celebrated, or events that shaped lives. This exhibit presents few vernacular furniture pieces from north-west India that are containers of such memories of people.