Home   »   Srinagar Named 4th Indian 'World Craft...

Srinagar Named 4th Indian ‘World Craft City’ by World Craft Council

Srinagar has become the fourth Indian city to be recognised as a ‘World Craft City’ by the World Craft Council (WCC). Three years after it was designated as part of the UNESCO Creative City Network (UCCN) for crafts and folk arts.

What is World Craft Council?

The World Crafts Council AISBL (WCC-AISBL) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that was founded in 1964 to promote fellowship, foster economic development through income generating craft related activities, organize exchange programs, workshops, conferences, seminars, and exhibitions and in general, to offer encouragement, help, and advice to the craftspersons of the world. The organization is now formally registered in Belgium as an international organization and AISBL is there the French shortcut for an international association without lucrative purpose. The WCC is organised into five regions: Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America. The organization is affiliated to UNESCO.

  • This is likely to reopen Kashmir’s centuries old linkages with craft centres in Central Asia and Iran. The executive board of the WCC, in a formal communication to officials of J&K, said on June 24, that Srinagar city has earned the designation of WCC-World Craft City, from members of the Council’s sub-committee after a detailed tour of craft centres earlier this year.

4,000-year history of Kashmir

The fresh recognition for a city with more than 4,000 years of written history has put the spotlight on a place that has created masterpieces in different art sectors, especially shawls, carpets, papier mache, etc. The craft scene witnessed a major change in the 14th Century, with the arrival of Persian and Central Asian preachers and artisans.

  • Saleem Beg, head of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage-Kashmir (INTACH-K), described the world craft city tag as “the latest recognition of the skill base of Kashmir.”

The Council is the modern-day means and medium to put the focus on places that have been engaged in creativity and aesthetics for centuries. This will provide a boost to Kashmir’s traditional linkages with Central Asia and Iran. There are 14 Iranian cities listed as craft cities by the Council, and the inclusion of Srinagar will lead to knowledge exchange. The last century saw Kashmir’s traditional routes slowly closing down, the WCC has provided a new highway for Kashmir’s artisans to achieve a new trajectory.

  • Saleem Beg said that Kashmir’s shawl and carpet industry has been heavily influenced by Persian artisans in the past. “We have carpet designs named after Iranian cities like Kashan and Tabriz.

Promote craftsmen

In 2021, Srinagar also earned the title of UNESCO Creative City under Crafts and Folk Art. With the spotlight shining brightly on Kashmir’s craft scene again, after several decades of obscurity, the sector has been infused with new energy. “This is a much-needed recognition for unsung craftsmen who have created masterpieces for generations. It will help promote genuine crafts and craftsmen. Kashmir’s craft scene is witnessing a revival with Geographical Indication tags, crafts tours, and the policies of the handicrafts and handloom department,” Mahmood Ahmed Shah, Director, Handicrafts and Handloom Industries, Kashmir, said.

  • According to official figures, Kashmir’s handicraft sector is witnessing major economic gains, with exports in the last five years jumping from Rs. 1,000 to 2,000 crores. Artisans are also reaping the benefits of this upward mobility in the craft sector.
  • Mujtaba Qadri, owner of the label Me&K and a craft revivalist, said that the World Craft Council tag for Srinagar will help artisans in the long term by enhancing global recognition and demand for our handicrafts. It will provide opportunities for sustainable income through increased sales and tourism. It will support skill preservation, cultural heritage, and access to networks for collaboration and growth.

List of four Indian cities to be recognised as a ‘World Craft City’

  • Srinagar
  • Jaipur
  • Malappuram
  • Mysore

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Founders of WCC: Ms. Aileen Osborn Vanderbilt Webb, Ms. Margaret M. Patch, and Smt Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay.
  • The current headquarters of WCC for the term (2021-2024): located in the State of Kuwait.
  • 1st World Crafts Council General Assembly: New York June 12, 1964.


Srinagar Named 4th Indian 'World Craft City' by World Craft Council_4.1