Tell us about your craft.
Mullah Anwar Hussain is known to the people of Jaipur as Mullah-Ji; the ‘Ji’ part is an honour granted to him; it’s a mark of respect. “I come from a long line of block carvers,” he tells us. “Four generations that I know of… I am known for my work.”
Block-printing is deep-rooted in Indian history, dating back as far as the fifteenth century, it’s a craft that’s typically passed on from generation to generation. Skilfully, Mullah-Ji taps a chisel into a mango wood block, while he speaks to us, small flakes flit out of the grooves and the Persia Blue pattern from our Jasper, Herbert and Monty pouffes slowly reveals itself. “Not just anyone can master this craft,” he says, “they have to be passionate, patient, and a hard worker. If you’re not passionate, the block will give you away.”
A small group of block carvers surround Mullah-Ji, each working on their individual block but wanting to remain close to him. The percussive tapping of chisels brings a musical element to their work. He gestures to the two men sitting closest to him. “These are my sons,” he says. “They will be the fifth generation of carvers in our family and I’m proud to have them here.”
Mullah Anwar Hussain, block carver