Metalware of Delhi

Metalware of Delhi


Delhi is an old centre for metal work. Generations of metal workers practise their skill here. This craft has been handed down in families and survives mainly in the narrow lanes of the old city of Delhi. Brass, copper and silver sheets are all used in crafting the articles. Sketches of the objects are first made on paper and then transferred on to the metal sheets. All the products are almost entirely handmade, the metal being beaten into shape with a hammer. The turning process is done on a hand-lathe and the soldering requires a metal alloy, which is prepared by the artisans. The various tools used are also made by the metal workers themselves. Only the final polishing or buffing is done by machine. The product range includes utensils and art ware, particularly table tops, wall plaques and plates, planters, and hanging lamps. Ornamentation of metal objects can be in the form of engraving, which is light impression design work on metal. A blunt chisel is used for this and only trace imprints of the design are done on the metal surface. This is commonly found in metal lamps where the design is chased on the article and then perforations are made in the desired pattern for the tracery to emerge. Enamelling is another common form of ornamentation.

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