GI Protected Metal Works of India

Important notes on metal work are as follows:

  • Tamil Nadu is one of the famous bronze producing regions where the artisans or stapathis produce stylistic images conforming to Pallava, Chola, Pandyan and Nayaka periods. The images of Trimurthi and Durga are the most common.
  • Kerala produces distinct bronze statues of Shiva’s tandava dance, described as the gaja tandava.
  • Karkal in Karnataka is an ancient centre that specializes in rare Jain icons.
  • Orissa is known for its Dhocra casting and silver filigree Cigar boxes, jewellery, baskets and decorative trays are the popular items made in the silver filigree.
  • Hyderabad is famous for silver objects like paandaan (betel-leaves box), silver models of Charminar and bronze statues.
  • Uttar Pradesh is the largest brass and copper-making region in India with numerous centres such as Etawah, Moradabad, Varanasi and Sitapur. Moradabad has become famous for khudai or metal engraving work done in nakashi
  • In Jaipur, the Marori work has minutely lacquered designs that cover the entire surface in its effect both rich and subtle; ‘chicken‘ has flowers motifs against a chased and lacquered background and ‘bichi’ is a delicate pattern of flowers and leaves on a lacquered surface.
  • Marwar in Rajasthan is famous for it zinc-pots called badla. The badlas, which are usually round, semi-circular or rectangular, are sometimes fitted with ice chambers and taps.
  • The kammalas of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu are famous for metal encrusting work.
  • Delhi and Jaipur are known for meenakari, the enamel work on gold.
  • The bidri work in which silver inlay work is done against dark metal backgrounds is practised in Bidar in Karnataka. Silver and brass are inlaid upon an alloy of zinc and copper, which is blackened by dipping the object into a solution of copper sulphate. It is the contrast between the black surface and the shiny inlay that makes the object look dramatic.
  • A metal craft unique to Himachal is the mohra. Mohras or metal plaques representing a deity are common in Kullu and Chamba. Most of them represent Shiva, but masks of the mother goddess Devi and other deities are not uncommon. The head is sculpted in bold relief, while the neck and shoulders are more summarily treated. These mohras are taken out of the temples on a palanquin in processions during religious festivals like the grand Kullu Dussehra.
  • Nepal has a unique art called the Newari art, which consists of bronzes with beautiful soft reddish patina. The phurpa or the ritual or magical dagger of Tibetan Buddhists consists of three-sided blades made of copper alloy and bronze in which the hilt usually shows three heads of protective deities, the common being the Mahakala.

GI Protected Metalcraft products

Some GI Protected Metalcraft Products in India are as follows

Aranmula Kannadi, Kerala

Aranmula kannadi is a unique kind of metal-mirror manufactured at Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. The mirror is costly and is said to bring Luck, wealth and prosperity. It has received geographical indication (GI) tag in 2004-05.

Bidriware, Karnataka

Bidriware  is a metal handicraft from Bidar, Karnataka. It was developed in the 14th century C.E. during the rule of the Bahamani Sultans. The term ‘Bidriware’ originates from the township of Bidar, which is still the chief centre for the manufacture of the unique metalware. Due to its striking inlay artwork, Bidriware is an important export handicraft of India and is prized as a symbol of wealth. The metal used is a blackened alloy of zinc and copper inlaid with thin sheets of pure silver. This native art form has obtained Geographical Indications (GI) registry.

Silver Filigree of Karimnagar

Silver Filigree was started nearly 400 years ago in the Karimnagar district in Andhra Pradesh. It is an ancient art of Karimnagar. Karimnagar Silver Filigree received Intellectual property rights protection or Geographical Indication (GI) status in 2007. Kala Karimnagar Silver Filigree Handicrafts Society has highly skilled and experienced craftsmen, from Karimnagar create these striking filigree items. For centuries their families created filigree items for the Rulers, Nawabs and the rich in India.

Temple Jewellery of Nagercoil

Original temple jewellery is made of silver and plated with gold. This jewellery set is 100% handmade jewellery. Artisan families in the district of Nagarcoil , Tamil Nadu has been mastering this art for more than 100 years. Temple Jewelry was pervasive during the celebrated historical periods in South India such as the Chola Dynasty, the Pandya Dynasty and the Krishnadevaraya rule from the 9th century till the 16th century. Temple Jewelry is studded with Kemp stones come either in dark reddish maroon or dark green color.Temple jewellery, an essential part of the adornment of the Tamil bride, is also an integral part of the aharya or costume of a Bharatanatyam or Kuchipudi dancer.

Thanjavur Art Plate

Thanjavur art plates are traditional metal craft of Tamilnadu with its intricated workmanship and value.The popular Thanjavur Art plates feature designs of deities, birds, flower and geometric patterns beaten out from the back of copper and silver sheets. These are then encrusted on a brass round plate, tray or pot (Kudam) or cup (panchapathra).

Bastar Dhokra

Dhokra Damar tribes are the traditional metal-smiths of West Bengal. Their technique of lost wax casting is named after their tribe, hence Dhokra metal casting. The tribe extends from Jharkhand to West Bengal and Orissa; members are distant cousins of the Chhattisgarh Dhokras. A few hundred years ago the Dhokras of Central and Eastern India traveled south as far as Kerala and north as far as Rajasthan and hence are now found all over India. Dhokra or Dokra craft from around Santiniketan, West Bengal, is popular.

Swamimalai Bronze Icons

Swamimalai Bronze Icons refers to bronze idols and statues manufactured in Swamimalai, Tamil Nadu. It has been recognized as a Geographical indication by the Government of India in 2008–09. About 1200 people in Swamimalai are involved in metal sculpting. The artisans are known as sthapathis, who are traditionally from the Vishwakarma community and have practiced metal casting for several generations.

Bastar Iron Craft

Bastar region is place where we can witness different varieties of craft in one place. The tradition of iron craft is passed down from generation to generation and the craftsmen are highly skilled and very creative as it clearly reflects in their craft. Wrought iron craft is traditional craft, in which the iron is heated and beaten to the desired thickness and shape.This craft is mainly practiced by the lohar community of the Bastar, Chhattisgarh.

Brass Broidered Coconut Shell Crafts of Kerala

Brass broidered coconut shell craft of Kerala is the craft of making beautifully carved and brass broidered products like cups, flower vases, snuff boxes, nut bowls, powder boxes and spoons using coconut shells as practiced by the artisans of Kerala in India. This art requires great skill on the part of the artisan as the shell is extremely hard. The main centres of production in Kerala are located in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode Districts. Though the coconut shell craft is also prevalent in Goa, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and West Bengal, the brass broidered variety is practiced only in Kerala.

Agates of Cambay

Folkmyths in the area around Cambay in Gujarat state that the ancient agate mining and cutting industries in that region were started by Baba Ghor , a circa 1500 AD merchant from Ethiopia who had led a large contingent of Muslims to settle in the area.

Bell Metal Ware of Datia and Tikamgarh

Madhya Pradesh Bell Metal Ware of Datia and Tikamgarh Bell metal is a hard alloy, a form of bronze, used for making bells. It is essentially a tribal craft.

Pembarthi Metal Craft

Pembarthi Metal Craft is a metal handicraft made in Pembarthi, Warangal district, Telangana State, India. They are popular for their exquisite sheet metal art works. It received the prestigious Geographical Indication, an honour for the craft.

Payyannur Pavithra Ring

Payyannur Pavithra Mothiram is a kind of gold ring worn by Indians for its ritualistic value. This holy ring is worn during the rituals of pithru bali, or the prayer for the dead ancestors of the person. This ring was traditionally made of Dharba grass. However, the modern Pavithra Mothiram is made of gold. The shape of the ring is unique and it looks like a knot. Silver is also used for making the ring. It is worn on the right ring finger while performing poojas for the dead ancestors.

Nachiarkoil Kuthuvilakku  / Nachiarkoil Lamp

The Nachiarkoil Lamp, also called Nachiarkoil Kuthuvilakku, is a brass lamp, a handicraft product which is exclusively made in Nachiarkoil town in Tamil Nadu, India. The lamp, which is hollow cast, is made in different sizes and consists of four parts which are screwed together. The central pillar that crowns at the apex is called the “Prabhai”; it is generally in the form of a hamsa or swan. The lamp may also be made in the form of a female figurine holding a shallow bowl in a standing posture, or in the form of branches of a tree; the bowl of these lamps has five V-shaped spouts which hold cotton wicks, and is filled with oil for lighting.

Bell Metal Ware of Datia and Tikamgarh -Madhya pradesh

Bell metal is a hard alloy, a form of bronze, used for making bells. It is essentially a tribal craft.

Moradabad Metal Craft

Moradabad metal engraving is a fine and a delicate art. This craft shows the traces of Islamic culture. There are many sharp tools used in the process of tracing the design on to the brass, silver and copper.

Thewa Art Work

Thewa art is based on Rajasthan. It is a jewellery form with base material of gold or silver, with gold foil work in colours. The history of Thewa art goes back 300-500 years.

Banaras Gulabi Meenakari Craft

Gulabi Meenakari or pink enamling of Varanashi is an ancient art in which meenakars (the artesans) make items like religious figures of god and goddesses on silver and gold sheet, traditional ornaments, motifs, flowers, birds and animal on gold and silver metal. The art is said to be introduced by Persian enamellist in 17th Century. Banarash gulabi meenakari is characterized by pink stokes on white enamel. Banaras Gulabi Meenakar craft is protected under Intellectual property rights after getting Geographical Indication (GI) tag in 2015.

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