The crafts of India are diverse, rich in history and religion. The craft of each state in India reflect the influence of different empires. Throughout centuries, crafts have been embedded as a culture and tradition within rural communities.
The diversity of religious beliefs has had a great impact on the crafts of Southern India. The region has seen the rule of various empires such as the Mughal, Portuguese, Dutch, French and British. Each has left their mark of style on traditional crafts.
Metal Crafts includes metal work using Zinc, Copper, Brass, Silver, Gold. Some of the traditional ancient handicraft styles are Bidriware, Pembarthi Metal Craft, Dhokra, Kamrupi
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.
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. This meticulous brass work art flourished during the reign of Kakatiyas empire. Kakatiyas extensively used sheet metal art to adorn chariots and temples.
Dhokra is non–ferrous metal casting using the lost-wax casting technique. This sort of metal casting has been used in India for over 4,000 years and is still used. One of the earliest known lost wax artefacts is the dancing girl of Mohenjo-daro. The product of dhokra artisans are in great demand in domestic and foreign markets because of primitive simplicity, enchanting folk motifs and forceful form. Dhokra horses, elephants, peacocks, owls, religious images, measuring bowls, and lamp caskets etc., are highly appreciated.
Kamrupi Brass and Bell Metal products of Kamrup are famous for their beauty and strength of form and utility. Brass is an important cottage industry, with highest concentration in Hajo, while Sarthebari is well known for its bell metal craft. The principal items of brass are the kalah (water pot), sarai (a platter or tray mounted on a base), kahi (dish), bati (bowl), lota (water pot with a long neck) and tal (cymbals). Gold, silver and copper too have formed part of traditional metalcraft in Kamrup, and the Museum has a rich collection of items made of these metals. Gold is generally used in ornaments.
Salar Jung Museum:
The Salar Jung Museum is an art museum located at Darushifa, on the southern bank of the Musi River in the city of Hyderabad, Telangana, India. It is one of the three National Museums of India. It has a collection of sculptures, paintings, carvings, textiles, manuscripts, ceramics, metallic artefacts, carpets, clocks, and furniture from Japan, China, Burma, Nepal, India, Persia, Egypt, Europe, and North America. The museum’s collection was sourced from the property of the Salar Jung family. It is one of the largest museums in the world.
The Salar Jung Museum of Hyderabad is a repository of the artistic achievements of diverse European, Asian and Far Eastern countries of the world. The major portion of this collection was acquired by Nawab Mir Yousuf Ali Khan popularly known as Salar Jung III. The zeal for acquiring art objects continued as a family tradition for three generations of Salar Jungs. In 1914, Salar Jung III, after having relinquished the post of Prime Minister to H.E.H., the Nizam VII, Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan, devoted rest of his entire life in collecting and enriching the treasures of art and literature till he lived. The precious and rare art objects collected by him for a period of over forty years, find place in the portals of the Salar Jung Museum, as rare to very rare pieces of art.
After the demise of Salar Jung-III, the vast collection of precious art objects and his Library which were housed in “Dewan-Deodi” the ancestral palace of the Salar Jungs, the desirability of organizing a Museum out of the Nawab’s collection dawned quite soon and Sri M.K. Velodi, the then Chief Civil Administrator of the Hyderabad State approached Dr.James Cousins a well known art critic, to organize the various objects of art and curios which were lying scattered in different palaces of Salar Jung III to form a Museum.
With a view to perpetuate the name of Salar Jung as a world renowned art connoisseur, the Salar Jung Museum was brought in to existence and was opened to the public by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India on 16th December, 1951.
However, the administration of the Museum continued to be vested in the Salar Jung Estate Committee till 1958. Thereafter, the heirs of Salar Jung Bahadur graciously agreed to donate the entire collection to the Government of India through a Compromise Deed based on a High Court Decree on 26th December l958. The Museum continued to be administered directly by the Government of India till 1961. Through an Act of Parliament (Act of 26 of 1961) the Salar Jung Museum with its Library was declared to be an Institution of National Importance. The administration was entrusted to an Autonomous Board of Trustees with the Governor of Andhra Pradesh as its Ex-officio Chairman and ten other members representing the Government of India, the State of Andhra Pradesh, Osmania University and one from the family of Salar Jungs.