Mud Mirror Art from India

Mud Art 06We traveled through the Kutch area of Gujarat stopping intermittently at different villages and towns to explore the wild, history and more often than not the rich art heritage.  While passing through stretches of barren land sans any form of vegetation, the odd bhungas (mud house) in sight would have beautifully decorated walls laden with mirrors. If you have grown up on Indian Bollywood movies you would recall the petite heroine in “Refugee” taking refuge in this art form decorating the walls of her home with a song on her lips while waiting for her beloved to come across the pristine white salt desert. After days of travelling we finally reached Dhordo, the last inhabited village on the Indian side of the the Great Rann ( the Salt Desert in the West of India).  A local artisan very gladly demonstrated Mud Mirror Art or Lippan Kaam Mud Art 03

Earlier done only on mud walls of homes to act as an insulator in extreme climatic conditions, it now finds its pride of place in modern homes in the form of wall décor. Plywood has now replaced the earlier dried camel dung base (pungent smell) for decorative pieces. The design is drawn on a piece of plywood with pencil. Clay is mixed with water to make it soft and pliable and then rolled into long pieces and stuck on to the design with a mild adhesive.Mud Mirror Art

The work has to be done outside in, progressing step by step as it dries. Care should be taken that the long pieces of clay do not crack while being applied on to the design by applying light moisture. The mirrors are stuck appropriately with adhesive after the design is complete.Mud Mirror Art

We watched in rapt attention, as he went about his work with absolute concentration. He encouraged us to try it out, but I soon realized, instant concentration is not my cup of tea. Mud Mirror ArtHowever, I will surely try it out when I need an involving calming break from my daily schedule. Some of these art forms are slowly being pushed aside as we take long strides to adopt the modern, the sleek and the cool. Let us give some space to our rich heritage in our homes and encourage the artisan in some corner of the country.

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  1. Wow! that is so very beautiful. I hope this art has a long life.
    I’d like to pick up a piece of that, sometime. Oh, it’s gorgeous!

  2. Hi Sangeeta,

    Artical was very nice, thanks for promoting such nice art of kutch, we are also doing this art based on orders and time to time doing exhibitions.

    Thanks & Regards,

    Gunjan Bhatt

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  4. Hi. I was searching for something related to mud of kutch. I don’t know how but Suddenly i came across ur post. I Loved your post about mud mirror work or lipankaam. Even i encourage this art in my own way. My native place is kutch. My parents lived their in their childhood in kutch. My granny and grandpa still reside in kutch. I visit it every 2/3 years. Once I saw the art in my village and I was so soulfully attatched to it and so much in love with it that I started doing it on my own with just a little guidance of a local. i started it as a hobby and now i am doing exhibitions and it has now turned into my profession. Now it has become my oxygen. I just can’t live without it. I even dream about mudwork when asleep. Its messy yet its fun. I m crazy about it. & I m loving it. Thanks a lot 🙂

    • Wow Lekha. I wish I could learn and practice it like you. It is always a blessing to be able to turn hobby into a profession. Thank you very much for such a beautiful note. Wish you all the success.

      • Thanks a lot Sangeeta mam. sorry for the long delay. i couldn’t reply. again , i was on internet today, after months, and i again suddenly bumped into this awsome post of yours. and i read it all the way till end. just to find out that i already commented here long back. it was nice to have a mini trip & visit “KUTCH” again through your post. actually i lost my Nanaji “Nanu” on 26 dec ’13 .early morning due to his “5”th severe heart attack. ur post once again reminded me of him. & kutch. :'( i know he is looking down at us, smiling sorry i got emotional. 🙂 and now i have officially started a page on Facebook named “CREATIVE CREATURE” , dedicated to my passion for various art & crafts. especially “Mud Mirror Work / Lippan Kaam”. very soon i will be uploading Mud work pics. Do check out my Facebook I.D.- “LEKHA JAIN” on FACEBOOK. to find my page. if u like it, press like button. 🙂 thanks once again. for making me smile again. 🙂

        • Hi Lekha, Am so sorry to hear about your Nanu and am sure he lives on through beautiful memories that you have built with him over time. I will check out your FB Page and all the best with your creative pursuits.

    • Lekha Jain, Admire your interest in traditional wall art form. I am interested in creating Lippan wall art for my new under construction house. Can you please send me your work models and contact to Me and brother both are interested in this art form.

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    • I wish I could. I met him in Rann Utsav and between all the crowd, he readily agreed to show me his stuff else they were busy selling stuff. I just could not make it to him home the next day where he promised to show me more. So much to see and do and so little time.

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  9. Lovely post Sangietaa. A long time ago gurjari used to do this in homes and used to charge per sft. Pretty neat. I don’t know if they still do it.