(Last Updated on : 19/01/2016)
Metal craft of Gujarat is found in an array of articles that have gained popularity due to its ethnicity and the rustic characteristics of the land itself.
The metal craft of Gujarat includes jewellery making which includes filigree work, open wirework, carving etc. The metal artisans of Gujarat are known as 'kansaras', from the Gujarati word 'kansu' for bronze. The metal craft of Gujarat involve enamelling which is another noteworthy artistic craft of Gujarat. Kachchh region is renowned for making necklaces, earrings etc out of different metals. The jewellery making, precious stone-cutting embedded in metal jewelleries and processing are part of the traditional handicrafts of Gujarat. The artisans of Gujarat create magnificent designs on jewelleries in silver, gold and other metals. Kachchh is famous for silver craft, in which light embossing is done on thin silver plates and is enhanced by etching and scrapping. Attardanis, gulabdanis, flower-vases, trays, jewellery-boxes, powder-boxes, ashtrays and cigarette-boxes are some of the articles of silver craft.
The metal craft of Gujarat is not only confined in traditional jewellery making but it has been ramified as an additional art in the tribal art form. Each tribe has different types of ornaments and what is interesting is that many communities have retained their traditional patterns of dress and ornamentation. Silver is the most commonly used metal with women of many communities. Gold and semi-precious stone jewelry were the treasures of the rich Brahmins and Banias of Gujarat.
The tribal craftsmen, on the other hand, use silver along with coins, glass beads, cowries, dried grass, seeds, and berries to fashion colorful and vibrant jewelleries. In Gujarat, there are ornaments for practically every part of the body-necklaces, earrings, nose-rings, hair ornaments, bracelets, bangles, amulets, waistbands, anklets and finger and toe rings. Silver jewellery is always in great demand with Rajkot and Ahmedabad being centres for silver ornaments. The women of Gujarat wear many necklaces, some of which stay close to the neck, others that go down to the waist, some with pendants, some with many strands, multiple rings on their fingers and toes and at least three different types of earrings all along the ear-lobe. For classic chunky tribal jewellery, people flock in Poshina, en route from Ahmedabad to Mt. Abu. Apart from these, the artificially embossed brass plant holders from North Gujarat have also gained popularity.
Besides jewellery, the metal craft of Gujarat flaunt items made out of iron. The articles made from iron are found in the former princely state of Saurashtra and Kachchh where descendants of the original court sword smiths and jewellers make fine beetle nut crackers, copper coated iron bells, knives and cutlery. Moreover, Gujarat is also notable for brass industry of Jamnagar. This is one of the largest brass industries in India and the famous silver engravings and ornaments from Kachchh and Rajkot are treasured here that are considered so archetypal of Gujarat metal craft.
The metal craft of Gujarat has excelled even in making metal utensils. The artisans of Gujarat create utensils with copper, brass and iron. Metal lamps, incense burners, boxes for storing betel leaf and nut, nutcrackers, large dowry containers, and votive figurines are other examples of metal work available in Gujarat. Before the introduction of brass, the use of bronze utensils was very common among the people of Gujarat. A wide variety of iron utensils and cutlery, knives and scissors are found in Anjar.
The metal crafts of Gujarat incorporate varied kinds of nutcrackers and religious and other figurines that are made to suit the purpose of superb souvenirs and gifts.