Chuckling at my ignorance of Indian history, Kursheed, the owner of the Asiatic Arts & Crafts in Bangalore’s famous Commercial Street, walked about his quaint little store, narrating stories with astonishing detail about mythological characters and colonial times. Some of the oldest products available at the Asiatic Arts & Crafts store are around 50 – 60 years old. For Kursheed, every little article tells a story.
Initially, when the shop opened its doors during the colonial era, it was well known for tailored fur coats made for the British army. Its present avatar as The Asiatic Arts & Crafts came about after Kursheed’s father, Ahmed, decided to convert his fur trade into a handicraft outlet due to the strict laws passed by the wildlife authorities. Years later, the store was inherited by three siblings, with Kursheed, taking over a part in 2002.
It is easy to miss this shop with its nondescript entrance. It is the jumble of colourful painted wooden and glinting artefacts that catch your eye. Once you enter, the apparent chaos and the ease with which Kursheed picks what he believes would interest you is truly fascinating. He tells me that it is the colonial style glass dome lamps, coloured glass lanterns and vintage English clocks that are fast moving and sought after items these days. Then he shows me these naturally aged wooden masks and bronze sculptures that have an individuality and are sure to become the topic of conversation as a part of any décor, be it in contemporary or traditionally styled homes. A beautifully embellished metal elephant with a goddess seated upon it catches my attention and I am told that the shop stocks various statues in brass and other metals, with statues of Lord Ganesha and Buddha made of varying materials being the most sought after.
Apart from authentic vintage, Kursheed also stocks replicas of intricate arabesque wall lamps, mirrors, clocks and handcrafted wall hangings. He talks about how wooden frames, swords, bells and distressed carved colourful window jaalis that can be easily adapted to all kinds of homes have also become very popular.
Kursheed adds that he has very discerning customers and that he is always able to source his customer’s need as mostly they know what it is that they are looking for. It is a shop which caters to various budgets depending on the age and size of the item.
Though a small space, one might find themselves spending hours rummaging through his unique stock to find that special piece to cherish!
Asiatic Arts & Crafts
133/2, Commercial Street, Mezzanine Floor,
Ph: +(91)-80-25325156, 41517915