10 Nepalese handicrafts to bring back as a souvenir of your visit to Nepal

Nepalese craftsmanship has long been part of the country’s cultural heritage, reflecting the rich traditions and culture. Their history dates back to the Stone Age when humans lacked any form of instrument. Nepalese craftsmanship is best known for its beautiful art, craftsmanship and oriental architecture all over the world.

The skills and techniques of making Nepali handicrafts that have been passed down from generation to generation reflect not only the ability and skills of artisans, but also the social, religious and cultural values ​​that exist in various parts of the country. There are several Nepalese handicrafts that are popular with foreigners as souvenirs or exported in large quantities for trade and business.

Here are the top 10 Nepalese handicrafts that you should consider bringing back with you as souvenirs from your visit to Nepal.

1. Thangka Paintings

Feature: A thangka painting

Thangka painting is a Buddhist painting made of cotton and silk. When these handicrafts are not used for display, they are rolled up and kept on a textile backing resembling Chinese scroll paintings, with a silk cover. They can last a long time. But, they are delicate that is why they are kept in dry places so that they are not affected by humidity. Each of these paintings depicts a Buddhist deity or scene. They are important teaching tools.

Thangkas worth Rs 16.5 million were exported in the 2019/20 financial year, according to statistics released by the Federation of Handicrafts Associations of Nepal (FHAN), 75% less than during the 2018/19 financial year. In the previous financial year, thangkas worth Rs 65.3 million were shipped in 2018/19.

2. Metal and stone statues and crafts

Photo: Pexels/Sunilkumar Krishnamoorthy

Sculpture in stone and metals is one of the ancient art forms that has been passed down from generation to generation since the dawn of time. A handcrafted Nepalese statue can be made from a variety of materials, including copper, bronze, and brass.

Carving is a well-known craft that uses a hammer and chisel to carve shapes. In Nepal, you can see a wide range of carvings. Nepalese handicrafts such as metal products are shipped to countries like USA, China, Korea etc. Small idols of gods and goddesses as well as decorative and household items are particularly popular.

3. Nepali Papercraft

In the international market, Nepalese paper and paper products are well known. Lokta or dayshing plants (Daphne cannabira) are used to make Nepalese papers. Moth resistance is its distinguishing attribute. Nepal exports a variety of items created from Nepalese paper, including postcards, notepads and paper, woodblock prints, calendars, gift wrap, lampshades, and more. The United States, Japan, Canada and European countries were the most important markets.

4. Wood carving products

Workers preparing wood for the reconstruction of Kasthamandap
Carpenters prepare wood for the reconstruction of the Kasthamandap temple in Kathmandu.

Nepal is blessed to be located in the foothills of the Himalayas, surrounded by beautiful green and leafy forests. Needless to say, these trees provide valuable wood, of which the inhabitants make extensive use. Wood craftsmanship has always been a highlight of Nepalese handicraft industry as well as architecture.

Wooden decorations, flutes, bracelets, wooden masks, decorative boxes, small wooden windows, and many more are among the goods available. These products are in great demand in countries like India, China, and the United States. There are several goods that range in price from $13 to $700.

5. Carpet

Over the years, hand-woven carpets have been one of Nepal’s most important exports. Ever since commercial carpets began to be produced in Nepal, the quality of the product has attracted worldwide attention. Handmade Nepalese rugs, which are often made of wool and silk, are known for their double knotting method, high pile density and environmentally friendly manufacturing process. Hand-woven rugs are sold in over 60 countries for around $70 million, making them one of Nepal’s top exports.

6. Jewelry

Tayo traditional newa jewelry
Photo courtesy: Bhaktapur.com

Nepali jewelry is another important export among Nepalese handicrafts. These jewels are made mainly by skilled artisans and reflect the country’s traditional arts and culture. Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, brooches, pendants, payels, kalli, phuli and other popular pieces of Nepalese gold and silver handicrafts.

Elements like gold and silver are considered sacred metals by the people of Nepal. Gold and silver jewelry with various precious and semi-precious stones are a popular export. Varieties of precious and semi-precious stones such as ruby, corundum, sapphire, tourmaline, aquamarine, topaz, garnet, crystal quartz, beryl and others are also available in different regions of the country,

Jewelry is preferred by all ages. Nepalese silver jewelry is exported to the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil, among others.

7. Singing Bowls

Photo: Pexels/Magicbowls

Singing bowls are traditional Buddhist products that date back thousands of years. These bowls were created by ancient Nepalese and Tibetan monks, disciples of Gautama Buddha. In monasteries, monks use singing bowls to transform negative energy into positive energy. It is also used for silent deep meditation.

This Nepalese handicraft is now well known for its use in meditation, music, relaxation and personal well-being. The sounds of the singing bowl reach every part and every cell of the human body, transforming the way we feel, move and think. You can discover many kinds of these singing bowls in Nepal at varying rates whether they are hand made or machine made, engraved or not, brass or some other metal.

Singing bowls worth around 12 billion rupees are shipped to major countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Korea, China and India every year.

8. Felt products

Courtesy of FHAN

Felt is considered one of the oldest Nepalese handicrafts. It is used in a wide range of items including automotive, art and design equipment and musical instruments. Some of the most popular felt items include handmade felt decorations, handmade felt balls, ornamental slippers, and felt rugs.

According to the Trade and Export Promotion Center, the country exported felt goods worth Rs 2.74 billion in the first eight months of the current fiscal year (mid-July 2021 to mid-March 2022), up 61.97% from prior year exports. bill of Rs 1.69 billion. In the previous fiscal year, the country exported felt goods worth Rs 2.15 billion. According to felt merchants, the United States and European countries are the most important markets for Nepalese felt, followed by Japan and Canada.

9. Clothing and accessories

Feature: Dhaka topis on sale

Shawls, handkerchiefs, ties and even placemats are some of the ‘Palpali Dhaka’ products available in Nepal. Buffalo and goat skins are also available in Nepal and are mainly exported as wet blue, chrome tanned, chrome crusted and chrome finished.

Nepal has been manufacturing and exporting a wide range of leather goods, both contemporary and traditional, for several decades. Leather goods such as jackets, handbags, belts, purses, shoes, gloves and wallets are made in Nepal and have a strong export market. Pakistan, the United States of America and Japan are the main export markets for leather and leather goods from Nepal.

10. Pashmina

A pashmina shawl. Photo: Flickr

After ready-made garments and hand-knotted wool carpets, Nepalese pashmina handicrafts have become Nepal’s third-largest international export. The inner layer of a mountain goat’s hair is known as the pashmina. It is created by mixing the natural hair of the goat. The softness, lightness, thinness, warmth and long-lasting characteristics of the Pashmina, together with the workmanship, define its quality. Shawls, stoles, mufflers, scarves, blankets and ready-to-wear garments are the most popular pashmina exports.

These Nepalese handicrafts are available in all shades desired by the customer, whether synthetic or natural dyes. The United States of America is the main importer of Nepalese pashmina products outside of Nepal. Japan, UK, France, Germany, Republic of Korea, Italy, Canada and Switzerland are all key markets for pashmina products.

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