Hodka, Kutch

Leather Art

The Meghwal community brought this craft to Kutch when they migrated from Rajasthan. This craft is a collaborative outcome of the relationship shared by the Maldhari nomads and the Meghwal community. When Maldhari cattle died, the Meghwals recycled the raw hides into leather, making a product of utility from waste. It is said that the leather was so durable that it could hold water. Some villages practicing this craft include Bhirandiyaro, Sumarasar, Hodka, Dhordo.

The inspiration for this craft is taken from the parched landscape of Rann and the tribal tattoos of its people. Variety of carefully composed concentric or linear geometric patterns is created by using basic tools like punches and hammers. The men do the cutting, punching, shaping and joining and women add the required embellishments like mirrors, embroidery, tassels. The rich and vibrant colors give this craft a playful character.

Traditionally, this craft was used to make products like
storage containers, harnesses for camels and horses, footwear and musical instruments. Today, objects like bags, lamp shades, mobile covers, etc are made. Also, due to social stigma, Meghwals are no longer converting raw hide into leather and are dependent on external markets of Bhuj and Ahmedabad for raw material.



The leather is either left in its natural color or dyed with stainers.


Based on the pattern of the product, the leather is cut into desired shapes.


Punches of various shapes and sizes are used to make holes for a reverse applique like technique.


Impressions can also be developd on the surface of leather by applying little pressure on the same punches.


On the back side of the holes, bright colored pieces of fabric are pasted using rubber glue. A backing of hand block printed fabric is given to this composition.


The different pieces of leather are assembled using hand stitching.