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Chamba - Metal Craft

Crafts of Chamba District reflect the rich culture and tradition of the district. Several art and crafts are popular in this district of Himachal Pradesh. Like for instance, metal craft, wood carving, painting, basket making, Chamba rumal embroidery, pottery or earthenware, weaving and leather works are some of the main crafts of Chamba District. These are practiced by a huge number of local people. Moreover, art and crafts of Chamba District also draw the attention of the travellers. 

One of the most interesting crafts of Chamba District is the art of metal craft. The tradition of bronze casting was introduced by the Kashmiri artisans. Kashmiri influence on these Chamba bronzes is cleanly discernible. LakshmiGanesh and Narsimha bronze statues in Bharmaur and Harirai and Gauri Shankar at Chamba are the marvels of the Bronze Sculptures. The method of casting of images in Chamba is Cire Perdu. The image is first made in wax and then a thin coating of clay is given to the wax model, keeping a hole for pouring the metal in. After burning the clay-covered mould, the melted metal is poured in the hollow of the mould and hence images are assumed. Some crafts persons still, are practicing the art of metal craft in Chamba. Metal works is the centuries old craft which is still popular in Himachal Pradesh with the name Mohra. The metal work called mohras represents deities like—Lord Shiva and others which are most commonly found in Kullu and Chamba.

The metal craft or metal work made in Himachal Pradesh usually signifies the unique jewelleries prepared by the expert metal-work designers, to preserve the tradition of the Himachal Pradesh. Many of the doors of the temples in this region are crafted with the metal, especially the Buddhists are very fond to use the metal crafts, and thus they use them in their monasteries.

Significance of Mohra Metal Work in State

Himachal Pradesh is one of the great states of India that makes Indians proud with its amazing architecture, natural beauty, arts and crafts such as painting, stone carving, jewelries, metal works like Mohra and so on.

The metal work of the state also includes the tradition of creating beautiful metal jewelries that are artistically created, few namely bangles, bracelets and so on...as per the state’s tradition. Every town of this state has its own unique metal-craft-mohra which is as old as the 14th century A.D.

The metal works of Himachal Pradesh are most popular in the world, and has been the main tourists’ attraction, because of its flower designs. Whereas, there is another metal craft work which is very different and most popular with the name Metal-craft-mohra. Such metal works are found in very famous places like—Chamba, Kullu, Bharmour, Kangra and so on.

The metal work artists are practicing the art and have become professionals in the unique creations. The statuettes at the temple entrances of Brahmaur, or the Vajreshwari Devi temple, are the very few fulgent models of excellent metal craftswork. Even, the temple doors of Vajreshwari Devi, Jwalamukhi, Bhimkali and Chandika Devi, explore the great craftsmen installed.

Another metalcraft unique to Himachal is the mohra. Mohras or metal plaques representing a deity are common in Kullu and Chamba. The metal crafters who design the metal craft work use bronze, copper, iron, and bell metal as well.

Apart from the glittering statues, many home items are made such as—lamps, handles, bells, and many others, by using the metals. Another unique metal object, prepared are glass or a small pot to preserve water can be found in different shapes and size, which drags attention of the tourists or the local people.

The metal crafts of Himachal Pradesh are not just supplied to the temples, monasteries etc. but, they are served to every person in common. As per the history, the metal craft in Himachal Pradesh is developed because of the region’s law court of the kings, who were experts in metalwork during the period of 600 AD. Since then, the metal craftsmen have been practicing the art and have become experts in this unique craft making.

Materials and Tools are Used in This Craft


Tools

Metal burner, metal cutter, metal bender, metal roller, drill presses, lathes, and pipe products.

Materials

Materials used to prepare mohra metals may vary from district to district or from village to village in Himachal Pradesh. In General, metals or materials that are used in creating Mohra metal work includes—the gold, silver, brass, bronze, mercury, copper, iron, tin and bell metal as well.

Popularity of Mohra Metal Work

The life of the Himachal Pradesh people is highly determined by the religious beliefs and rules where the worship process is very expandable. To worship, the temples need several items or materials, which are made by metal like copper, tin, and many others. Metal contains copper, tin, brass, bell metal and iron. Despite of the shining statues, there are many objects which are made by using metal like lamps, bells, musical instrument, and vessels.

The metal word done in Himachal Pradesh is a kind of tradition that lets artists to make beautiful metal jewelries that are artistically created. The jewelries also include- The Pahari jewelries that are artistically created and give the same charm of nature, which it borrows from. Also, there is another kind of necklace made out of metal called ‘Chandahaar’ which comprises 5-7 rows of quality gold beads. Usually, such jewelries are worn by Pahari women who wish to dress-up with metal bangles, beaded metal necklaces etc.

These Mohras have been available since last 1,400 years ago till now in Himachal Pradesh, and can be seen a lot in temples especially during the giant festivals like Dussehra at Kullu district.

Craft Process


In Livelihood

Himachal Pradesh is very popular for the special metal work called ‘Mohra’, and every village of this region has its own mohra metal, where the metal-craft-work of Himachal Pradesh stands as the antique metal works, and is most commonly found in several temples of Himachal Pradesh in the form of statues of gods and goddesses appear as ‘mohras’ or metal plaques.

One of the most interesting crafts of Himachal Pradesh is the art of metal craft. Chamba district was the foremost centre of metal casting; also, the temples of Bharmour and Chamba are carved with bronze, by a professional craftsman. The tradition of bronze or image casting was introduced by Kashmiri artisans at Chamba, where some craftsmen still practice the metal craft work to become a master of metal carving.

Among the handicrafts, Himachal Pradesh has also a very famed quality metal crafts like bangles, earrings and many other items which are created using copper, brass, mercury and bell metal. While, the statues made of copper and brass are beautifully carved, whereas bells and mugs have very excellent designs sculpted. The metal works also include lamps, whose handles are beautiful carved in temples. Even some items that include— jugs, trumpets etc. are also made of the copper or bronze metals.

The mohras made of brass and copper usually contain carvings of Lord Shiva and Goddess Durga of Chamba and Kullu. The metal work of the Kinnaur district displays a unique style of Buddhism and Hinduism. While, another type of ornament called ‘Lahaul-Spiti’, influences the Tibetans with its design that is created with semi-precious stones such as coral, giant pearl, and so on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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