A point of interest is the extreme simplicity of the craftsman’s tools and methods. The painter’s brushes, for example, are made of the awns of SIMILE OF TOOLS. various grasses, of squirrels’ hair, of roots, or fibre, and he is always able to replace them or modify them at need. The repousser’s tools he makes himself to suit the work in hand, and he does not hesitate to make a new tool out of an old one for a special purpose. The value of this simplicity lies in the fact that the craftsman relies upon himself rather than upon his tools, and at the same time is completely master of them, adapting them exactly to the requirements of the moment.
These lines were written by an eminent philosopher of Indian art- Shri A. K. Coomaraswamy in his book ‘The Indian craftsman’. The book sheds light on the value of crafts before industrialization of commodities and the philosophy which sustained craftsmen through vicissitudes. The digital version of this book (The Indian Craftsmen) is available for free.
Shri. A. K. Coomaraswamy was a Ceylonese philosopher and metaphysician. A pioneering historian and philosopher of Indian art, particularly art-history and symbolism and an early interpreter of Indian culture to the West. In India, he was part of the literary circle around Rabindranath Tagore and contributed to the “Swadeshi” movement, an early phase of the struggle for Indian independence.