Topic outline

    • Towns, Traders and Craftspersons

      Q44. Write a short note on “lost wax” technique.

      Ans. Chola bronze statues were made using the “lost wax” technique.

                             i.        First, an image was made of wax. This was covered with clay and allowed to dry.

                            ii.        Next it was heated, and a tiny hole was made in the clay cover. The molten wax was drained out through this hole.

                           iii.        Then molten metal was poured into the clay mould through the hole. Once the metal cooled and solidified, the clay cover was carefully removed, and the image was cleaned and polished.

      Q45. How was the architecture of Hampi distinctive?

      Ans. Architecture of Hampi was distinctive in several ways:

                             i.        The Hampi was a well-fortified city. No mortar or cementing agent was used in the construction of these walls and the technique followed was to wedge them together by interlocking.

                            ii.        The buildings in the royal complex had splendid arches, domes and pillared halls with niches for holding sculptures.

                           iii.        They also had well-planned orchards and pleasure gardens with sculptural motifs such as the lotus and corbels.


      Q46. Why did people from distant lands visit Surat?

      Ans. People from distant lands visited Surat because of the following reason:

                             i.        Surat was the gateway for trade with West Asia via the Gulf of Ormuz.

                            ii.        Surat has also been called the gate to Mecca because many pilgrim ships set sail from here.

                           iii.        The textiles of Surat were famous for their gold lace borders (zari) and had a market in West Asia, Africa and Europe.

                           iv.        The state built numerous rest-houses to take care of the needs of people from all over the world who came to the city. There were magnificent buildings and innumerable pleasure parks.

      Q47. Describe the trading community of the medieval period.

      Ans. There were many kinds of traders. These included the Banjaras. Several traders, especially horse traders, formed associations, with headmen who negotiated on their behalf with warriors who bought horses. There were also communities like the Chettiars and the Marwari Oswal who went on to become the principal trading groups of the country. Gujarati traders, including the communities of Hindu Baniyas and Muslim Bohras, traded extensively with the ports of the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, East Africa, Southeast Asia and China. The towns on the west coast were home to Arab, Persian, Chinese, Jewish and Syrian Christian traders.


      Q48. In what ways was craft production in cities like Calcutta different from that in cities like Thanjavur?

      Ans. Craft persons of Calcutta began to work on a system of advances which meant that they had to weave cloth which was already promised to European agents. Weavers no longer had the liberty of selling their own cloth or weaving their own patterns. They had to reproduce the designs supplied to them by the Company agents.

      Craft persons of Thanjavur were independent. They had the liberty of selling their own cloth or crafts. The Saliya weavers of Thanjavur and the nearby town of Uraiyur produce cloth for flags to be used in the temple festival, fine cottons for the king and nobility and coarse cotton for the masses. The sthapatis or sculptors make exquisite bronze idols and tall, ornamental bell metal lamps.


      Q49. Write a note about network of small towns that emerged after eighth century onward.

      Ans. From the eighth century onwards the subcontinent was dotted with several small towns.

                              i.        Small towns probably emerged from large villages. They usually had a mandapika (or mandi of later times) to which nearby villagers brought their produce to sell.

                             ii.        They also had market streets called hatta lined with shops. Besides, there were streets for different kinds of artisans such as potters, oil pressers, sugar makers, toddy makers, smiths, stonemasons, etc.

                            iii.        While some traders lived in the town, others travelled from town to town. Many came from far and near to these towns to buy local articles and sell products of distant places like horses, salt, camphor, saffron, betel nut and spices like pepper.


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