Metal Craft


Metal Craft Forms of Gujarat

Metal or ‘dhatu’ has been a powerful element in shaping the ingenuity of man. The ability to use fire to tame metal and cast it into varihued shapes defines the territorial boundaries of the metal smith or the ‘luhaar’. Ore and its fusion has been the mainstay of specialized artisans in Gujarat. Even though metal ore is not naturally prevalent in the state, metal ware developed to a fine art suffusing every strata of society. Varieties of different techniques are perfected to work in metal and its various alloys yielding a range of quality products. Different qualities inherent in each metal are lovingly coaxed out of the ore by the metal smith and rot into objects of splendorous beauty, aesthetic appeal and utility. The state has a long history of metal ware harking back to the Indus Valley Civilization almost 3000 years ago. The influence of topography and the variety of different communities inspired the craft of the local metallurgist. The delicate filigreed in patterned vessels to the mixed metal casting of cow bells, the magical mystery of intricate jewelry to crudity of totems all add in to the varied design spectrum of Gujarat. The metal smith in Gujarat forms an integral part of community life serving on one hand an urban demand for intricacy in patterns to a pastoral need for ritual and clan identification. Over the time, the metal ware artisan of Gujarat has evolved into a flexibility of style and need fulfilling demands ranging from vessels to exquisite jewelry and the malleability of geometrical patterns tabling modern furniture and design accessories for interiors.