(Last Updated on : 24/05/2011)
Metal craft of Kerala holds a place of pride among the traditional arts. Metal craft of Kerala defines the exclusive creations ranging from kitchen appliances to items for home d‚cor. Bell-metal casting is an old time industrial art. It has involved mainly two kinds of activities. Images or idols of deities made out of copper, bronze and brass are used for consecration in temples and other religious purposes. An old time industrial craft which has acquired an epitome of perfection in the progression of time is crafts made out of bell-metal. Some exclusive designs are found in the items like the artistic lamps of bell metal that include Greek lamp or 'Changalavatta', the 'Archana lamp', the 'Arati Dipa' which are admired by the local people as well as the tourists. Another metal craft of Kerala that is very popular is the Aranmula metal mirror work which is made of an alloy of copper
and tin and resembles the glass mirror in every point of utility.
Granite carving is one of the main forms of metal crafts of Kerala. It is mainly centred in Chengannur. The granite workers manufacture a variety of articles like idols, household equipment, pillars, etc., which are in great demand. The manufacture of musical instruments like Chenda, Maddalam, Mridanga
, Edakka etc., is done in some places. The costumes and accessories required in Kathakali
are being manufactured by some craftsmen. Besides images, the bell-metal tradition in Kerala
also generated a variety of articles of which lamps are the most significant. Other articles of beautiful traditional designs made of bell-metal are cosmetic boxes, incense-burners and the box for betel-leaves and areca nuts. The metal craft of Kerala includes creating Charakku which is made of bell-metal and is one of the largest cooking vessels. Moreover, the artisans of Kerala are deft in making idols of gods and goddesses etc. with different metals. Thus, the beautiful oil lamps and the Aranmula metal mirror are the distinctive examples of the metal craft of Kerala.
A large variety of hanging-lamps are other attractions of metal crafts of Kerala. In the so-called 'horse-lamp', the oil basin has on its rim the figure of a mounted knight. Thiruvananthapuram
in Kerala is said to be the centre where the 'Koftagari' work is displayed widely in the forms of figures of deities, landscapes, floral designs and beautifully created articles. Trays, cigarette-cases, ash-trays, photo-frames, etc., are the articles usually made. The motifs are gods and goddesses, temple scenes, landscapes, figure studies. Backwater scenes with boats in the foreground and palm-fringed shores in the background are especially popular with visitors as evocative souvenirs of the land. Thus, the legacy of Kerala in the field of arts and crafts is a rich and varied one.
Metal craft of Kerala include a vast variety of items including exclusive jewellery, Lamp Stands, Flower Vases etc that are found in astounding lustre and intricate works of art. The metal craft in Kerala has gained its popularity due to the availability of raw materials and the accessibility of proficient craftsmen. The metal crafts of Kerala have a different touch of ethnicity in their creation for the land is the core of cultural affluence. The artistry of the craftsmen of Kerala is the paradigm of the all pervading beauty and creativity in all aspects of life.