Metalware of Jammu & Kashmir

The Fateh Kandal area in Jammu and Kashmir is known for copper vessels like milk containers, cooking pots, ladles with long handles, samovars for tea, hukka bases, water jugs or aftabas and ornamented glasses. The artisans who are known for their excellent craftsmanship in brass and iron work are generally from the Buddhist blacksmith community of Ladakh. Silver engraving is done to embellish the products made here which include tea kettles, lids for tea bowls, copper ladles and copper and brass prayer wheels embellished with silver are also made by the silversmiths or sergars.

In Ladakh, the blacksmith community of gara makes elaborately decorated iron stoves, locks, keys and conch bangles with traces of brass and decorative designs that include dragons facing each other, druk khabrel, floral strips and tanka similar to those found on old Chinese coins. These craftsmen are also involved in repairing the household wares by moving from house to house with their tools.

The most typical and traditional metal craft of Jammu is the casting of large vessels used for cooking during weddings and other festive occasions. Copper which is the most popular metal for household use in Kashmir is cast into common household items such as the lota, samovar and tram. Kashmir is also famous for some beautiful silver work with patterns like the chinar and lotus leaf. The production of a silver object involves preparation, engraving, cleaning and finally gilding and the different people involved in the various production processes are the khar or smith, naqash or engraver, zarcob or gilder, roshangar or polisher and charakgar or cleaner.