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. Different metals like silver, copper, iron and alloys composed of white metal, bronze and bell metal are all employed for manufacturing metal crafts. 'Metal Meenakari' and white metal crafts are in high demand.
Metal Crafts of Rajasthan
Rajasthani metal crafts portray the dexterous craftsmanship of the skilled artisans of Rajasthan. 'Theva' is the most popular metal work of the state, which has been thriving in the regions of Pratapgarh since ages. Jewelleries and other articles meant for regular domestic utility are also produced by such techniques. This craft was patronized by royal lords during the 19th century, and was considered to be a part of enamelling. Gradually, the metal enamelled products transformed into simple decorative items like flasks, wall plates, table-tops and innumerable other items. Rajasthan is home to several crafts which comprise silver filigree work, brassware and engraved metal crafts. Jodhpur, Jaipur and Alwar are renowned for their metal crafts, which include these products.
Since Rajasthan is the birthplace of the Rajputs, who were valiant warriors, this state manufactured a large quantity of armours. Kings and soldiers alike utilized these weapons during royal combats. Swords, helmets, spears and other weapons were created from metals in the olden days. Golden frames are also made from metals which depict scenes from legends, hunting sequences, warriors in combat, Lord Krishna surrounded by 'gopis', peacocks, royal marriages, or Maharaja Pratap riding 'Chetak', his horse and so on.
Metal Crafts of Gujarat
Filigree crafts, carving and wire-work are very common applications of metals, when it comes to manufacturing ornaments. Like Rajasthan, Gujarat is also famous for its enamelled metalled crafts. Necklaces, earrings, bracelets and various other pieces of jewelleries made in the area of Kutch are among the favourable metal crafts of Gujarat. Different metals like gold and silver are extensively used to create such artistic crafts. Embossing done on silver plates is popular in Kutch region. Other products of metalware comprise flower vases, jewellery boxes, ashtrays, powder-boxes, 'attardanis', 'gulabdanis' and many other products, composed of silver.
Local Gujarati tribes utilize a combination of silver, and cowries, glass beads, grass and berries to produce attractive ornaments. Nose-rings, nose-pins, toe-rings, wrist-lets, hair accessories, anklets, finger rings and ornaments for every other body part are available in this Indian state, especially in Rajkot and Ahmedabad. Crafts made from iron are also quite popular, apart from jewellery. 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 Kutch and Rajkot are treasured here that are considered so archetypal of Gujarat metal craft.
Articles created from iron, in parts of Saurashtra and Kutch are also in high demand throughout India. Metal artisans of Gujarat are capable of making betel nutcrackers, knives, utensils, cutlery and iron bells which are coated with copper. The utensils were mostly made of brass, iron and copper. Gujarat also contains metal lamps, incense burners, dowry containers and pretty figurines composed of metals. Wind chimes, pendants, items involving home decoration, musical instruments and bells are various articles of metalware found in Gujarat.
Gujarat boasts of a 1000-year-old tradition of designing metal artillery. Jain miniatures contain references of the historical records of arms and swords manufactured in Gujarat. Anjar's metalsmiths collected scarp metal, melted it and created items like swords and knives, embedded with filigree carvings, which were offered in the royal courts.
Metal Crafts of Maharashtra
Maharashtra is renowned for its 'bidri' craft. Bidri is an ancient metal craft which belongs to Aurangabad originally and utilizes copper and zinc as the base materials. Bidri artisans impart intricate silver work in various techniques which include brocade, inlaying on the surfaces of metals. However, the art of Bidri is on the verge on extinction since it is employed only for making decorative products which are sold in the form of souvenirs. Nasik and Pune manufacture innumerable metal idols in Maharashtra. Alloys composed of brass, copper and other metals were used to fashion several kinds of products.
Products like 'abhishek', 'patra', 'ghangal', 'ghagar' or water pot, 'pan-patra', 'samai', and 'laman-diwa' or hanging oil lamp manufactured from metals are collected as antique decorative masterpieces by art lovers. Nitcrackers, 'kalamdan', 'pan-dan', foot scrubbers and toilet boxes are artistic metal objects, which exist in Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, Pune. Murbad region of Maharashtra is well-known for objects made of brass and copper.
Thane, Nasik, Kalyan, Ambernath are different parts of Maharashtra which are famous for making copper objects. Beautiful chandeliers, lamp stands, trays and pin cushions are the articles made from copper metal. Other metalware objects include key chains, door handles and images of the Hindu Trinity (Tridev-Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Maheshwara) are favoured by several tourists who visit Maharashtra. Most of these objects are exported outside India.
The exquisite beauty of metal crafts made its presence felt in the artistry of gold jewellery art and silver jewellery art, gold and silverware, brass and copperware, metal ornamentation, 'bidri' and enamelling. The royal heads of the princely states of India were fascinated by the idea of enamelled utensils. Wine-cups, finger-bowls, pill boxes in both gold and silver, often studded with jewels, were introduced.
(Last Updated on : 01-07-2013)