History of
Indian Crafts
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Indian Crafts >> Glass
Glass
Indian Crafts - Glass
History of Glass

The manufacture of glass was done since ancient time in India. As early as 800 B.C., i.e, at the time when the Yajur-veda was composed, glass was one of the articles of which female ornaments were made. In the Mahabharta, and in other old book called the Yutikalpataru the effects on the human system of drinking water out of a glass tumbler are stated to be the same as those of drinking out of a crystal cup. It is evident from the archaeological findings at Basti in UP that glass ware is about 2000 years old. During the Mughal reign, glass articles with floral engravings, like bowls, tumblers and bottles for perfumes became popular. Large chandeliers, which were made by blowing technique during the mughal period are still popular.
Fine Art
Glass was extensively used during Mughal times for articles like bowls, tumblers, bottles for perfumes etc. The engravings on glass were mainly of delicate foliage patterns. Now a days, glass bangles have a tremendous demand. Aligarh specializes in glass bangles without joint, Ferozabad has a long tradition of making vast range of colour bangles and blow glass chandeliers. Decorative designs on the glass products are created just by the fusion of variety of glasses. Artisans at Agra are skilled in this technique. These days borosil glass is also being extensively used for making of bells as it gives better resonance sound. Icons of the Hindu gods and goddesses in transparent borosil glass are attracting a large export market
Procedure
A furnace, filled with powdered glass, is fired. On melting of glass to a thick viscous liquid, it is taken up on the hook of an iron rod. The molten glass on the hook of iron rod is wound round the sinkh held in left hand. A ring is made by winding round the sinkh. It is cooled and detached with a gentle blow of a narrow iron bar. A pointed rod carrying this ring becomes thinner and larger when rotated. On reaching a considerable size, this ring is transferred to the kalbut, and is rotated again. It is cooled till a desired size is attained. Fine rods/ scraps of glass is melted in the furnace are taken on the hook of an iron rod and drawn like a wire. These wires are twisted and laid on the rims of bangles. This ornamentation is done while the bangle/beads are in the furnace. Coating of lac, gold, silver foils are also used for ornamentation.Another technique of making glass figures etc. does not involve the use of the furnace. Instead a lamp with the blue Persian flame is used to melt the long glass rods. The artisan with his deft manipulation of the molten glass creates various shapes and forms while keeping the glass rod on or near the flame. Several items thus created are joined, again by the heating and cooling process of the glass to create larger forms.
Resources
Basic Material : Crackle glasses, borosil glass, ordinary glass .
Decorative Material : Gold and silver foil, glass beads, lac.
Colouring Material : Colours.
Equipments
Iron rod with a hook at one end, sinkh (long iron rod pointed at one end); iron bar; iron rod tapering to 1 point; kalbut (a cone of clay fixed to end of iron rod).
Artifacts
Fashion accessories- Bangles, beads, ear-rings, etc.; kitchen accessories- tumblers, stirrer, fruit dishes, dinner & drinks set, containers, bowls, plates, etc.; decorative items- birds and animal figurines, flower pots, candle stand, hanging balls, hanging candle stands, vases, bottles, floral figures of Gods, etc.; other items- paper weight, pens, kerosene lamps, borosil glass bells, fanus (chandeliers), chimney, walking sticks

Indian Crafts : History of Glass