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Antiquing in Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Antiquing in Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Decorative features benchThis bench was constructed using assorted moldings and decorative architectual features found in the countryside of India

Jodhpur is at the heart of the Indian furniture industry. You can find anything from industrial contemporary furniture to very traditional Rajasthani antiques. My father and I have been travelling to Rajasthan for many years to explore the many furniture manufacturers that are located there. Every visit we manage to find something new. I am amazed by the variety of products that can be found there and also by the creativity of the people of Rajasthan. They are somehow able to create beauty and exotic exports from scraps and rubbish that would no doubt be considered junk by most.

Countryside scrap wood chest This chest was constructed from recycled scrap wood collected throughout the countryside. The drawer faces still bear the colour of a former life.
On one of my recent visits I came across a company that specializes in reproduction, antique furniture. The owners scour villages in the countryside for old doors, window panels, moldings and pillars or any architectural feature with some amount of carving or craftsmanship. They purchase these unique pieces from villagers and transport them back to their factory in Jodhpur where the magic happens. These old doors, windows, shutters, pillars are stripped down, reassembled into exotic furniture pieces and refinished. I have seen some amazing ethnic carved pieces of furniture created in this way. A new fad that I see gaining popularity is the concept of recycled wood furniture. These guys scavenge scrap wood from all over the countryside and from this pile of what looks like firewood, they create beautiful rustic looking, aged furniture pieces.

Decorative molding door panels A cabinet with door panels constructed using decorative moldings from old houses.
I have seen some truly bizarre stuff being collected up by these ingenious people for export to the west... cooking instruments, old cast iron pots, old irons that look like they are from the middle ages. The list goes on. It seems that just about any exotic items that speak to a bygone era can be collected, recycled and exported. What are people doing with this stuff? I can only guess it is being sold to boutiques in Europe and America as interesting and eclectic conversation pieces to be placed around the home.

Raj Kapahi

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