Antique Indian door

The story of antique Indian doors, part 1..

Without question antique Indian doors are amongst the most beautiful in the world. We’re going to delve a little into the fascinating significance of some of their decoration. We will also discover the Elephant’s connection to door design. Furthermore we will look at the new life being given to old and damaged doors in today’s home decor.

Antique Indian doors

The influences of design

Significantly, many cultural and religious ideals have influenced door design throughout Indian history. Hinduism, Mughal (in itself a blend of Islamic, Persian, Turkic and SE Asian influences) and, to a degree western culture, have all added to designs and trends in door construction. War and conflict also became a major contributing factor affecting both appearance, design and decoration of exterior doors and frames. Features from these periods of conflict have remained in door construction long after the necessity. They have therefore added visible memories from those past times of battle.

Carvings on antique Indian doors

Antique Doors – Carvings and meanings

One of the common main features of Hindu influence on exterior door design, would be the deity “Ganesh”. The Hindu god and remover of obstacles. He can often be seen carved into the top section of the door-frame. “Ganesh” is easily recognizable by his elephant head. “Ganesh” is also the patron of arts and sciences, the deva of intellect and wisdom, and the God of beginnings.

On many of these carvings you may also notice “Ganesh” riding or on top of a rat. The rat is the symbol of human senses in the Hindu faith, which are never satisfied. “Ganesh” rides the rat to keep it under control. His aim, to quell the never-ending yearnings.

We also commonly find old weathered teak wood in these doors. The characteristic hardness and weather resistance adding strength and longevity to the construction. This use of teak wood has allowed many of these carvings to survive over time.  Aged and weathered, the patina and look of these doors can be breathtaking.

Carving of Ganesh

Part two;

In part 2 we will be looking into the following areas;
: Elephant’s and their role in door design.
: Interior antique doors.
: NK Bantawai giving new life to old doors in today’s home décor.