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Indian Crafts >> Silver Ware
Silver Ware
Indian Crafts - Silver Ware
History of Silver Ware

Elegant silverware has long been a Kashmir specialty. It has gained a great deal of fame in India and used to be highly appreciated in Europe. Both Ksemendra and Kalhan testify that kings and nobles took their meals in dishes and cups made of gold and silver. In recent times, the late Maharaja Hari Singh had specially - designed utensils and tableware made by Kashmir silver smiths which included a thal (round plate) in which food remained warm with hot water in a chamber below and an ingenious portable wash basin.

Silver being a more expensive item is limited in its use. Yet one time it was more widely used. The eating plates even in middle class families were of silver. in fact the plate offered to an honoured guest had always to be of silver.

This craft, originated during the last years of Maratha rule, nearly 200 years ago. Nasik being an important pilgrimage centre, craftsmen initially manufactured only ritual objects in silver, such as idols of god, and kumkum boxes. With the growing demand some attractive utility articles such as paandans, gulabdans, attardans and bowls and trays have bean added to the list.



Jewellery as a social and economic factor acquired legal implications. It became a form of investment as also saving for emergencies. Primary articles like black beads, items from shell, lac, conch shell, iron or copper bangles, floral jewellery which are essential and considered a symbol of good omen appear as vestiges from a remoter period, before sophisticated ornaments came to be made through various ingenious processes.
Fine Art
Craftsmen can often be seen engraving objects of household utility samovars, bowls, plates and trays. Floral, stylized, geometric, leaf and sometimes calligraphic motifs are engraved or embossed on copper, and occasionally silver, to cover the entire surface with intricate designs, to cover the entire surface with intricate designs which are then oxidized, to stand out from the background.

Silver has been widely used in ritualistic objects such as images of deities worshipped in temples as in homes also. Impressions of popular deities are made on silver sheets. Traditional armlets, bracelets and rings of Mughal design are also produced in silver, in addition to pendants, chains, earrings, brooches and hairpins of high-grade silver.



The design are usually creeper stems, leaves, flowers, etc., sometimes small frames shaped as a heart, a circle, flower petals etc. are also made. It is filling of the interspaces by the delicately bent pieces that gives filigree its character, and the distinction comes from the contrast of the thick ribs, as against the fine granular surfaces, as also brings out the exquisite artistry of the design.

In Andhra Pradesh, the gold and silver jewellery is Mughal in style, which is noted for its elegance and fine workmanship.
Procedure
For this pure silver ignots are put through a wire drawing machine. In the pre-machine days the ignots were beaten on an anvil and elongated into long wire by passing it through a steel plate with apertures of different wire gauges. The very hair like wires of 36 gauges are still done only in the old drawing technique then twisted and flattened. The thinnest wire is wound together two or three times on a charkha after heating. This pleated wire is flattened again to get it as thin as the single wire originally was, but with granular edges on either side, then bent into different shapes to get various patterns. A filigree object is thus a combination of a number of component parts put together. The space within the frame is filled with the main ribs of the design which are usually the creeper, stems, leaves and flowers etc.

The silver filigree is locally known as tarkashi and is noted for its delicacy and fine workmanship. The process consists of drawing silver through a series of consecutively smaller holes to produce fine strands of wire. These wires are then made into various shapes by deft hands of craftsmen by bending them into different designs and soldering them with pincer and scissors. Silver used by artisans is usually of high purity.

For silver ware pure silver ingots are put through a wire drawing machine. In the pre-machine days, the ingots were beaten on an anvil and elongated into long wire by passing it through a steel plate with apertures of different wire gauges. The very hair-like wires of 36 gauges are still done only in the old drawing technique, then twisted and flattened. Two of the thinnest wires are wound together two or three times on a charkha after heating. This pleaded wire is flattened again to get it as thin as the single wire originally was, but with granular edges on either side. It is bent into different shapes to get various patterns. A filigree object is thus a combination of a number of component parts put together. The space with in the frame is filled with the main ribs of the design which are usually the creeper, stems, leaves, flowers etc.

In silver filigree, pure silver ingots are put through a wire drawing machine. In the pre-machine days the ingots were beaten on an anvil and elongated into long wire by passing it through a steel plate with apertures of different wire gauges. The very hair like wires of 36 gauges are still done only in the old drawing technique then twisted and flattened. Two thinnest wire are wound together two or three times on a charkha after heating. This pleated wire is flattened again to get it as thin as the single wire originally was, but with granular edges on either side, then bent into different shapes to get various patterns. A filigree object is thus a combination of a number of component parts put together. The space within the frame is filled with the main ribs of the design.

Gold is mixed with copper or silver or with copper and zinc to give it a little hardness. A model is made in resin, boiled and when thoroughly set and hardened, is enclosed in a mixture of clay and cowdung. The crucible containing the metal with its mouth sealed is placed on the fire, the metal fuses the crucible containing the metal and it surges up; and as the molten metal enters the resin model, it melts, and takes on the form of the model.
Resources
Basic Material : Silver, silver ignots, steel plate, wire gauges.

Basic Material : Silver, pince

Basic Material : Silver ingots, wires, wire-drawing machine, charkha

Basic Material : Silver ingots, anvil, steel plate

Basic Material : Gold, silver copper, zinc, beads, gems, clay
Equipments
charkha

a pair of scissors





Artifacts
cups, vases, bowls, plates, goblets, tea and coffee pots, susahis, tray dinner set, boxes, cigarette cases.

Rose water sprayers, candle stands, traditional armlets, bracelets, rings, pendants, chains, earrings, brooches, hairpins, tiepins, cufflinks

idols of gods, kumkum boxes, paandans, gulabdans, attardans, bowls and trays.

ash trays, boxes, cigarette cases, jewellery, buttons, paandans, perfume containers in the shape of a peacock, parrot or fish

bangles, necklaces, rings, earrings, head ornaments, hairpins

Indian Crafts : History of Silver Ware