Kashmir is a treasure trove of handicraft, heritage and natural beauty.Among the elegant treasure Kashmir possesses is Kashmiri Copperware (locally known as kandkari Work). Copperware known as Traam has been an indispensable commodity in Kashmir since ages. The age old art of crafting copperware is deep rooted in Kashmir culture. The art of Copperware in Kashmir is famous all over the world, the craftsmanship of beautiful Kashmir is known for their work of engraving and for making household and decorative products, the household utensils include Lota (pot), Tream (plate), Naer (water jug), Tash- Near (portable handwash), dishes, bowls,trays ,vessels,Lamp Shades and many more…. most famous being Kashmiri ‘Samovar’–a large cattle for preparing tea.
History backs it, that the Sufi Saint and an Islamic scholar, Mir Syed Ali Hamdani ,who travelled from Central Asia was instrumental in making copper popular among natives.He brought craftsmen from central Asia (especially from Persia and Iran ) to train locals.however during the reign of Budshah Zain ul Abideen ,this craft received good support and Zain ul Abideen became the active catalyst and pioneer to restore the grandeur of Kashmir ….
Process Of Making Of Copperware
Copper ware requires ample amount of time and labour and making process is slow and difficult .
The process of making of a copper or brassware goes through many Hands (artisans) which are specialized in a particular technique. The process involves “Khar” (Local name ) – the smith, Naqash – the engraver, Zarcod – the gilder, Roshangar – the polisher and Charakgar – the cleaner or finisher. In past there were special localities or Mohallas like Roshangar-Mohalla were named after these professions,(however now the tale is totally different) , where these artisans were carrying out their craft practice.
Some of the tools used in the process of making a copperware are , Draz (Local name) – hammer, Mekh -stakes, Yandrewah – anvil, Compass ,chisels, punches, files etc.
The beautiful shops of household utility and decorative copperware items in Shehr-e-Khaas ,downtown area of srinagar city has been the hub of copper ware since the 19th century, the old markets of Zaina Kadal, SR Gunj ,MR Gunj … still carrying this glorious art. Large beautiful copper samovars, cups, glasses, tasht naari’s, traami’s, jugs, bowls, trays, vases ,vessels ,water bottles ,table Lamps ,pendant Lamps etc are gracefully found in the beautiful shops even today.The old city is full of shops where craftsman (Naqash) are often seen engraving copper items .