Ancient Indian Metal Works

By:Aaron Goldstein & Landrey Smith

Why did the Indians work with these metals?

The Gupta Kings owned and ran mines that included gold, copper,and iron. The metal workers would make coins out of these metals. They engraved the coins with pictures that honored the Gupta rulers. The coins highlighted the the rulers' wealth and their achievements in art, politics, and war.

Did they have any traditions for metal working?

In tradition, the Indian craftsmen used different metals such as iron, copper, silver, alloys like bronze, bell metal, white metal, etc. They used these items to make things such as pots, pans, utensils, photo frames, sculptures of deities, and mythological figures and animals.

What is the significance of Indian metal works?

Metal working is deeply infused with religion. In fact, before an artisan even begins a project he prays for guidance to Tvastram, the son of Visvakarma, who worked with copper, brass, and other metal alloys. Even in the household, metals have religious significance, from icons in the family temples to cooking utensils. Hindu religion forbids the use of copper for cooking; thus in a Hindu kitchen we could find primarily brass tools, whereas a Muslim kitchen would boast mainly tinned copper. They also built the metal pieces needed for the cremation services which also includes religion.

This is a video that shows some of the objects that a few Indians have hand made out of metal.

Dhokra Metal casting Decoratives India