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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Indian Art and Craft : Metal Work - 10

The use of metals symbolized man's understanding of his mortality and his innate desire to leave for posterity, his creations, which would withstand the vagaries of time. Deities were made both as sold casting an hollow casting, and some ancient books, the Shastaras, laid down proportions to enable the artisans to create exquisite figures in relation to human eye's perception. the deities were adorned with glittering jewels and even the prayer items used in temples and households were beautifully designed and crafted.

Everywhere in India, one finds idols and statues in temples and on the streets. For a people so given to idol worship, it was natural to develop sculpting skills of the highest order. Brasswork from the princely state of Jaipur, the black stylized vases and urns from Pembarthi and polished bras mirrors of Aranmula have today evolved into design statements. Metal and bronze sculptures of south India continue in an unbroken lineage from the Chola period dating back to a thousand years ago.

In all villages and towns, blacksmiths are intrinsic to the milieu, producing cooking utensils and stoves in addition to kitchen accessories including spatulas, knives and hammers. The spectrum of metalsmiths in India includes the simple blacksmiths serving the needs of agricultural communities to the sophisticated "Kammalar" community of meatalsmiths who claim descent from Vishwakarma.

The Buddhist blacksmith community of Ladakh carry out the most interesting brass work, making kitchen stoves, "thap chabrik", with decorative brass Buddhist motifs. Skilled blacksmiths also make sophisticated locks with up to twelve levers with beautifully ornamented keys. Locks are a speciality of Ajmaer, Aligarh and Meerut.

Quality work in silver, copper and brass is done in Chilling, Ladakh, where the 12th century-inspired copper ladles and ornate tea kettles are crafted. Copper vessels are also produced in the Kashimr Valley. Copper samovars, ornamental glasses and water jugs are not merely utilitarian but indicate a dedication to beauty.

Brass, first produced in India by fusing zinc with copper, over two thousand years ago, gets its expression in Moradabad. Uttar Pradesh, the largest center for hand engraved brass.

Related Links:

01. Indian Art and Craft : The Living Age - 1
02. Indian Art and Craft : The painting history of India - 2
03. Indian Art and Craft : India the home of Painting - 3
04. Indian Art and Craft : Ajanta Paintings - 4
05. Indian Art and Craft : Floor Designs and Madhubani Paintings - 5
06. Indian Art and Craft : Art of body painting - 6
07. Indian Art and Craft : Shekhavati - India's Open Air Art Gallery - 7
08. Indian Art and Craft : Contemporary Painting - 8
09. Indian Art and Craft : Crafts Traditions- 9
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