(Last Updated on : 20/12/2012)
In India enamel work is labelled as an exquisite handicraft. Three forms of enamelling are followed. Firstly the enamel is applied to the metal; secondly, transparent enamels are laid over a design which has been carved on and third is the decorative coating applied to inlay or outlay. The first two are comparatively modern methods. The third one is very ancient and it has two is known under two varieties - the cloisonne and the champleve In the cloissone a pattern is raised on the surface of the metal through strips of metal or wire which is welded on to it. The champleve is a cut out of the metal itself. In both of them the pattern is filled in with the enamel. In a true enamel work the colouring glaze needs to be fused on to the metal. The Jaipur enamelling is of the champleve pattern. A round plate among the Prince of Wales' Indian presents is the best specimen of enamel work. It took four years to be made. It is in itself a monument of the Indian enamel art. Another notable example is the beautiful covered cup and saucer and spoon that belonged to Lady Mayo.
Enamel work is perfect in design and finish. Another example of Jaipur enamelling is the little perfume box which has a cone-shaped cover that belonged to Mr. W. Anderson. The box has a representation of Lord Krishna
, followed by pretty cows and the fair shepherdesses, wandering through a grove of wide-spreading trees, with birds singing among their branches. Krishna is shown dancing with the shepherdesses, on a green ground of hills and valleys and fields. It was surmounted with a yellow diamond and is in perfect harmony with the green, white, blue, orange colours and scarlet enamels.
Among all the Prince of Wales' enamels the device is a native writing-case that is shaped like an Indian gondola. Stern is figured like a peacock and the tail sweeps under half the length of the boat that is enlightened with blue and green enamels, brighter than the natural brightness of a peacocks tail. The covering of the ink bottle is green, blue, ruby and coral red enamels. The enamels of Jaipur
, Benares and Lucknow
are famous all over the world.
Among the arms which are kept in the India Museum there are some exquisite examples of old Jaipur
enamelling. The handles of the yaks tails, the peacocks tails, which are symbols of royalty and divinity throughout the East, the magnificent examples of the grandest of the art crafts of India practised almost everywhere in India. It includes places like Lucknow
and in Kangra
and Cashmere however nowhere such perfection as at Jaipur. Enamel work is believed to be a Turanian art.
Among the Prince of Wales' several specimens are there of the charming Cashmere enamels. It has a usual shawl pattern ornamentation tout in gold and is filled in with turquoise blue. Sometimes a dark green colour is intermixed with the blue and is perfectly harmonised by the gold thereby producing an artistic effect.
Among the splendid loans contributed by the Queen to the India Museum is a Huka stand, the silver bowl which has flowers painted in green and blue enamel. At Pertabghar in Rajputana brilliant trinkets are made by melting a thick layer of green enamel on a plate of burnished gold and it is covered with thin gold cut while it is still hot. After the enamel has hardened the gold work is imprinted over with a graver in order to bring out the characteristic details of ornamentation
Beautiful glass bangles and ornaments are made at Rampur near Meerut
. These glass ornaments are also made at Hushyarpur, Patiala, Karnal, Panipat and other places in the Panjab, at Dalman and Lucknow
in Oudh. In Bombay Presidency glass-making is done at Kapadvanj in the Kaira district of Gujarat
. Glass trinkets are made in the Kheda district of Kandesh and at Bagmandli. In the south, glass bangles are made at Matod and Tumkur in Mysore: and in several villages between Guti and Bellary. The glass phials for Ganges water are made at Nagina, in the Bijnur district of the North-Western Provinces and at Sawansa, in the Pertabghar district of Oudh.