The historical development of the Nepalese handicraft industry is very old although has its rise and falls. According to the reference found in Kautilya’s Economics about various productions and exports from Nepal, during the time of Chandra Gupta Mouriya, in the fourth century, Nepal was known for quality rainproof woolen blankets. The blankets were made of eight pieces joined together of black colour known as “bhiringisi” as well as “apasaraka”. Similarly, the good quality blankets are mentioned in the epics of Jain religion “Brihatakalpasutra Vhashya”. Various famous Chinese travellers like Wanghunshe and Huansang in 648 AD have appreciated Nepalese arts and crafts and the skills of Nepalese craftsmen and artisans in their travelogues.

From the beginning up to the mid-nineteenth century, the rulers of the country promoted national industries and trade to various measures of production, promotion, and encouragement. Saving national industry only imported commodities that were not produced locally. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the Nepalese arts and crafts industry and the entire home-based industries, in general, suffered a great deal due to the general liberal import policy of the government. Prior to the establishment of the British regime over India and entering a peace treaty with Tibet in 1904 AD, Nepal was interpreted as the main route to Tibet for external trade with other countries. But the treaty of 1904 AD facilitated the British to open a new route between India and Tibet through Chumbic Valley and the trade route treaty of 1923 AD between Nepal and British India, which was not in favor of Nepal and had very unfavorable effects both on industries and on flourishing trade of the country.

In Nepal, the production of handicraft is an age-old practice. Novel handicraft is also developed in harmony with changing the market taste. For the last 25–30 years, the export of handicrafts has been growing. The development of handicrafts helps the conservation of national heritage and culture of the country; which in return contributes to appease poverty by creating job opportunities. The handicrafts of Nepal are produced in a traditional way, from generation to generation leading the footpath of ancestors or from forefather to grandfather to father and to son and this continuity has given the survival to Nepalese handicrafts, preserving their heritage, cultural values, aspects, and tradition. More recently, these arts and crafts are one of the major exporting industries of Nepal, earning foreign exchange and providing employment to thousands of Nepalese craftsmen, artisans, promoters, and businessmen generating revenue to the government.

Textile products

Textile products include the following:

  • Pashmina Products
  • Woolen Goods
  • Felt Products
  • Silk Products
  • Cotton Goods
  • Hemp Goods
  • Alloy Goods
  • Dhaka Products
  • Misc.Textile Products

Nontextile products

The Nontextile products include the following products:

  • Silver Jewellery
  • Metal Craft
  • Handmade Paper Products
  • Wood Craft
  • Glass Products
  • Bone & Horn Products
  • Crystal Products
  • Ceramics Products
  • Leather Goods
  • Incense
  • Plastic Items
  • Paubha (Thanka)
  • Beads Items
  • Stone Craft
  • Bamboo Products
  • Miscellaneous Goods
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