Okair Sazi: The Traditional Paper Cut Work of Multan

Topics: Paper, Chinese paper cutting, Paper art Pages: 8 (2446 words) Published: May 1, 2013
Masood Akhtar

This present research focuses on one of the craft of Multan which is known as Okair Sazi, the traditional paper cut work of Multan. This is delusively known as indigenous craft of Multan that represents the rich culture and tradition. This craft started centuries ago in China. The known chain of its craftsmen of Multan is linked only to the past century. It is said that this craft reached to the Multan through Pathan craftsmen who came to this area of southern Punjab during Afghan invasions, but careful study tells the different story about the origin of this craft. This research paper will also discuss the technique, importance and the use of different material in this craft. The paper leads you from the origin to the current changes and developments in this craft as its importance is a necessary part of decoration of other handicrafts is certain. Crafts are as old as human history. Originally fulfilling utilitarian purposes, they are now a means of producing objects of intrinsic aesthetic appeal. Among the earliest basic crafts are basketry, weaving, and pottery. Nearly every craft now practiced can be traced back many hundreds or even thousands of years.1 Craft is the true courier of any specific culture and tradition. It reflects the creativity through the conception and production of individual works. It shows a creativity and skill of craftsman with visual sensitivity and working knowledge of tools and material2.


Linnea D Leedham. "Crafts." Microsoft® Encarta® 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2008.

http://www.craftandculuture.org.com (Accessed on February 14 2013)

Multan is the third largest city of Pakistan by area and fifth largest city by population. Multan is one of the oldest cities not only in Asia but also all over the world.3 It is usually known as the City of Saint’s (because of large number of shrines here), mangos and cotton. The city is full of bazaars, shrines and tombs. The famous shrines in Multan are of Shah-Rukn-i-Alam, Bahudin Zakriya and Shah Shams Tabriz. It is a commercial and industrial centre in Southern Punjab and especially famous for its handicrafts. Multan is reputed for its exceptional handicrafts. The history of Multani arts and crafts also goes back to the medieval period. These handicrafts are not only liked in Pakistan, moreover sustaining the prosperity of Pakistan by exporting these handicrafts throughout the world. For the reason these handicrafts carry the devotion and care that makes each piece a master piece; having the quality that is unmatched and leads up to display the “strange power4”. These handicrafts comprise hand painted camel skin objects, Okair sazi associated with khussa (Local embroided shoe) making. In ancient times Ivory and now camel bone jewelry and artifacts, lamp shades, hand knotted carpets, metals and leather crafts are worth seeing. Multan is producer of finest cotton cloth as well as Lunges’ and bedspreads as compared to the produce anywhere in the world. Multani Okairsazi is echo down tradition of Chinese paper cut work, which was evolved with the invention of paper by Cai Lun in Eastern Han Dynasty in China. Chinese Paper Cutting or Jianzhi, is the first type of paper-cutting design. The art form later spread to other parts of the world with different regions adopting their own nomenclature and cultural styles. Because the cut outs are also used to decorate


http://www.hamaramultan.com/history.asp (Accessed on February 14 2013) [ Old English cræft "strength, power" < Germanic]


doors and windows, they are sometimes referred to "chuāng huā", meaning Window Flower. Paper is a kind of material which mildews and rots easily. In the southeast of China, it usually rains in May and June, which makes paper mildew and rot quickly. As a result, people in southeast didn’t keep them, and it is hard to find paper-cutting from that time. On the contrast, the weather in the northwest...
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