The metal craft has its ramifications from mythological figurines, sculptures of deities to pots, pans, utensils, photo frames, doorknobs, taps, key chains, boxes and so on.
Metal Crafts of Jammu and Kashmir
Traditional metal vessels composed of iron and brass, manufactured in Ladakh, Kashmir are quite sought after. Intricate floral and calligraphic patterns are embellished on copper and silver items that make the metal item look gorgeous. Blacksmiths of Ladakh, who are locally recognised as 'gara', are capable of making elaborately embellished keys and locks, beautifully designed bangles and iron stoves. Kashmir boasts of its most traditional metal crafts of manufacturing large cooking vessels which are used in weddings and special, festive occasions.
Kashmir makes marvellous household products and utensils like trays, bowls, plates and 'samovars' for tea, from richly engraved metals. The 'naqashi' style, which is the oxidization of the metal items, is done to make the design stand out from the background. Calligraphic and floral patterns are imprinted on the metal items, which are usually made of silver and copper. Utensils, sculpture of deities and various forms of decorative masterpieces are created with brass metals in Kashmir. The Fateh Kandal region of Jammu and Kashmir is famous for its copper containers like milk vessels, ladles with long handles, ornamental glasses, cooking pots, 'hukka' bases and many other metal articles.
Metal Crafts of Himachal Pradesh
Antique metal statuettes in Himachal Pradesh are one of the most significant in the temples of this Indian state. The statues of Gods and Goddesses also appear as 'mohras' or in metal plaques. The statuettes at temple entrances in Brahmaur, Chamba and the Vajreshwari Devi temple in Kangra are glaring examples of excellent craftsmanship. Even the temple doors of Vajreshwari Devi, Jwalamukhi in Kangra, Bhimakali in Sarahan and Chandika Devi in Kinnaur exhibit the Repousse technique in which the craftsmen excelled. A canopy made of gold at the Jwalamukhi temple is one of the most admired examples of the metal craft of Himachal Pradesh, which is believed to have been gifted by the Mughal emperor Akbar.
Items like conch trumpets, daggers, jugs, prayer wheels, ritual cups, kettles and others are a few of the various metal crafts of this state. Jars, lamps, incense burners, tridents, bells, canopies and even domestic utility objects like silver or brass settees are the other metal artifacts of Himachal Pradesh. 'Lota', which is a small pot for conserving water, is also available in different forms, in several parts of the state. Beautifully fashioned teapots, smoking pipes, carved panels, doorknobs and various other metal artifacts are found in the well off families. Bilaspur, Chamba, Kupa, Rekong Peo, Rohru, Sarahan and Jogindernagar are some places where exclusive items of metal craft are found.
Himachal Pradesh is believed to make magnificent metal jewelleries, aesthetically manufactured keeping in mind, the tradition and custom of the place. A legendary belief asserts that the jewelled butterflies and head ornaments worn by Sita in Ramayana were manufactured by the talented silversmiths of Himachal Pradesh. Ornaments like 'chandanhaar', silver bracelets, anklets, coin necklaces, choker necklaces decorated with silver beads, earrings and nose pins studded with precious stones are some of the famous jewellery pieces of this region. Artisans create 'Chiri tikka' which is a flat piece of silver, enamelled or embedded with pearls and suspended from the centre of the forehead while several chains hang along the hairline on both sides. Moti Bazaar in Mandi, Chaugan bazaar in Chamba, Kangra town, Sultanpur, Kullu and a village named Sunairon ki Gaon near Rohru possesses craftsmen who are engaged in jewellery fashioning.
Metal Crafts of Punjab
Punjabi metal crafts comprise metal utensils which are utilized for domestic purposes and religious rituals. Metal craft artisans of Amritsar are renowned for their expertise in different techniques of soldering, casting and decoration processes like enamelling, engraving, 'repousse', pierced work and others. Religious customs make the utilization of metal objects like lamps, trumpets and lamp shades mandatory in Punjab. Temples and Gurudwaras of Punjab possess beautifully engraved metal doors which are remarkable products of metal crafts. Life-sized metal sculptures of 'Nandi', Goddess Durga's charger the lion, the 'Chhattra' and 'Kalashas' of several temples can be found in Punjab.
Metal Crafts of Delhi
. Mehrauli area of Delhi contains a massive iron pillar, which belongs to the Mauryan age is a fine demonstration of the creativity of Delhi's local artisans. Metal crafts of Delhi achieved great heights in the ancient period, especially during the regime of the Cholas. Bronze sculptures manufactured by wax techniques were among the beautiful metal crafts of Delhi.
Metal Crafts of Uttar Pradesh
The metal craft of Uttar Pradesh is highly acclaimed for the forms it has created with different metals that include household products like pots, trays, bowls and decorative pieces are made here and are decorated with detailed engraving. Moradabad region in this state produces wonderful brass objects while Benaras is well known for its sculptures and statues of religious deities. Recently, Mirzapur has also emerged as one of the important brass industries of Uttar Pradesh. Metal items produced here have gained their popularity in the local as well as Indian market.
Though the metal crafts of Uttar Pradesh have a hue of tradition in the creations, the craftsmen also make items keeping in mind the modern trend and choice of the buyers. They create modern streamlined articles of Swedish design in polished brass or burnished copper that suit the need of modern accessories and sophisticated interior decoration.
North Indian states manufacture beautiful and unique metal crafts, embellished with sophisticated designs. Such objects are in high demand in numerous nations across the globe. Metals are processed by various techniques like engraving, embedding of gems or precious stones and enamelling, prior to composing innumerable types of metalware. The national capital of India, Delhi is a reservoir of manifold traditional metal objects which are popular throughout the country.
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