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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Indian Art and Craft : Metal Work and Engraving - 11

Engraving, the most refined of all processes, has various styles known as japani, mehrani, chikan and bidri. Lacquer colours in deep red, yellow, black and blue are filled in the engraving. Plates, bowls, ashtrays, of polished brass, make excellent decorative metalware.

Gujarat has a wide range of brass objects made by the "Kansara" community. Storage chests made by the kathi community in Saurashtra has diverse uses. The large "dhablo" or "Katordan", a round casket with three stout legs and a bowl-shaped upper portion topped with a smaller box and a large brass ring on the top serves as a trousseau chest, storage pot for grain, and in olden times, for storing jewels. The entire casket tied by a strong rope passed through the rings would be lowered in a well during battles or skirmishes to protect the jewellery. Utility items such as nut crackers, with flower motifs and animal figures, kohl containers, foot scrappers with bells, are a credit to the skill of the metalsmiths.

Bell metal, an alloy of copper and tin is used extensively in Kerala to cast cooking vessels. In addition, beautiful lamps made for temples are over five feet high with circular recesses to hold the oil for lighting.

The elegant bidri work of Bidar and Hyderabad has brass inlaid upon an alloy of silver and copper and blackened by dipping the object in a copper sulphate solution.This craft was brought into India from Iraq 900 years ago and continues to be practiced. the adaptable folk idiom, has produced a plethora of objects for hunting, fishing besides lamps, ornaments and toys particularly in West Bengal, Orissa and Bihar.

In their simplicity, emerges a unique view of nature through the age old processes of metalwork.

The bronzes of India defy age, looking as fresh today as they would have coming out of the sculptor's mould many centuries ago. Indian bronzes speak volumes about the expertise of an art form that was born very long and still holds the strings of continuity in the story in Indian tradition.

The earliest mention of bronze is found in the epic called the "Matsya Purana". The findings in the ruins of Mohenjodaro and the discovery of the figure of the dancing girl showed that sculpture along with the use of metal alloys was well known to people of that period.

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
10. Indian Art and Craft : Metal Work - 10
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