The iron beams of Konark Sun temple in Orissa and the iron pillar at Qutab Minar in Delhi are evidence of the numerous skills achieved by Indians in the field of metalware. The art of bronze casting has been practiced in India for more than five million years. Copper and bronze were perhaps the earliest non-ferrous metals which man shaped into tools. Metal is part of the Indian mystique as each metal has its own alchemic and healing powers.


Availability of different metals and its vulnerable nature has made it the base for a variety of decorative techniques such as inlay, metal casting, carving, applique, etc. The scope of art metal is immense. The work done in Moradabad, Jaipur and Delhi are representative of this.


Metal craft has also been an integral part of Indian culture. The 'lotas' or water pitchers are found in almost all parts of the country. The 'urli', bell-metal vessel in Kerala is a basic element of its culture. The metal based lamps in various shapes and designs are part of the Indian traditions and rituals. In Ladhak, decorative kitchen stoves are made purely by hand. In South India, metal icons, especially of bronze, are believed to absorb the charged energy of the Divine and are stored in the inner sanctum of a temple where the icon is installed.


Moradabad, in Uttar Pradesh, has almost become synonymous with metalwork. It is specially noted for its coloured enamelling and intricate engravings in niello. Delhi too is an important centre for art metalwork. The 'paildar' or the pie-crust designs, laboriously made, is a speciality of the place. 'Koftgari', technically known as damascening, offers a wide range of products, both for utility and ornamental purpose. Metal-wire inlay work has panels and pictures depicting attractive scenes. This work is found mostly in Uttar Pradesh and Kerala. Kashmir is famous for metal engraving. It is done on walking sticks, nutcrackers, cutlery, knives etc. Rajasthan does an outstanding work in silver. Spice boxes, caskets and cigarette cases are made of silver with intricate designs.


In fact metal craft has an amazingly wide range of products with a variety of possibilities like E.P.N.S., metal casting, metal carving, inlay work, enamelling etc. Also, it is a craft widely popular in India, thus proving to be a treasured artwork.

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