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Metal work is an important craft of Cuttack. It is one of the highly refined crafts of the city.

The silver filigree or the delicate craft of tarkashi is among the principal crafts of Cuttack. For the filigree work, silver is beaten and then drawn into fine wires, which are joined together and given a concrete shape. The filigree work is commonly used to make ornaments. In Cuttack, the tarkashi craftsmen still continue to uphold a rich tradition of craftmanship.

http://www.mapsofindia.com/cuttack/people-culture/crafts.html 12/1

Bali Jatra to promote tarkashi


LAL MOHAN PATNAIK

Cuttack, Nov. 11: A maiden initiative to boost the Cuttacktarkashi (silver filigree) art form is under way as part of the preparations for Bali Jatra this year. The Cuttack District Culture Board organises the week-long fair, which starts on Kartik Purnima day. This year, the board has decided to come up with a silver filigree bazaar having a special pavilion for filigree products of artisans. A board member said: The initiative involves identification of traditional artisans, bringing them under one roof along with infrastructure for live demonstration of the intricate methods involved in the silver filigree work and product sale facility for the first time in Bali Jatra. The official said the board has decided to start with 20 to 25 kiosks in the special pavilion to provide an opportunity to the artisans to display their filigree work. A committee has been constituted to select the artisans, said the official. Cuttack tarkashi is popular across the world. The special pavilion is expected to attract people by offering them the opportunity of viewing a wide range of traditional handmade tarkashi work and their progress from fine silver wires into a connoisseurs delight, Kishore Kumar Mohanty, Cuttack collector told The Telegraph. The tarkashi technique involves beating and drawing of silver into fine wires and foils. These are then bend and joined in an artistic manner producing a wide variety of ornaments and decorative items with a snowy finish. Cuttack has been the centre of silver filigree art form for ages.

(TOP) PICTURES OF CUTTACK BALI JATRA AND (ABOVE) AN ARTIST MAKES SILVER FILIGREE. PICTURES BY BADRIKA NATH DASLALMOHAN PATNAIK

It is home to nearly 2,000 tarkashi artisans who have inherited, over the generations, the craftsmanship involving mastery in twisting delicate silver wires into delicate loops knitted in a zigzag pattern resulting in an intricate lace like appearance. Such unprecedented initiative in Bali Jatra will matter a lot to the families of artisans in the city. These days, younger generation of filigree artisans are considering other options for earning their livelihood as the specialised craft now barely manages to retain a marginal per cent of the total sales, forcing traditional craftsmen out of work, said Biswanath Dey, a master filigree artisan, who had recently created a two-foot high replica of the Konark temple made of 10kg silver. Deys younger brother Pravat hopes that the initiative during Bali Jatra will enable artisans to get the feedback from the consumers directly and know the market trends and preferences. The Dey brothers had also constructed a four-foot high replica of Taj Mahal by using 55kg of silver in 2004. The special pavilion for silver filigree art form at Bali Jatra this year is expected to set the pace for the Silver Filigree Centre (SFC) project for which the district administration had recently handed over three acres at Mundasahi on the banks of Mahanadi, the Cuttack collector said.

Orissa Tourism Development Corporation will link the SFC with the tourism sector and use funds of about Rs 1 crore from the Union government under its Circuit Development Scheme to support the project and mobilise filigree artisans in Cuttack.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1101112/jsp/orissa/story_13165716.jsp 12/1

The highly refined, delicate craft of tarkashi or silver filigree work is practised in Cuttack. Silver is beaten and drawn into fine wires and foils, which are then joined together to form articles-generally ornaments-of stirring beauty. The snow glazed filigree work or tarkashi of Cuttack was once sought after by royal households and merchants from far and wide. Today, the tarkashi workers continue to uphold the traditions of outstanding workmanship, but the clientele has changed, resulting in a comparatively reduced, standardised variety of articles. Silverware or Trakashi of Orissa is very widely known. Her Filigree works particularly are unique examples of artistic excellence rarely to be seen in any other part of India. Silver wires, extremely delicate, are shaped into intricate designs. Forms of animals and birds, articles of daily use like vermilion receptacles are also made out of silver wires- Filigree ornaments. Beaten silver is drawn into fine wires and foils which are then fashioned together to create jewellery of infinite beauty. Royal households were known to hanker after the snow glazed filigree works of Cuttack. The workmanship here is similar to that done in Indonesia and it is these crosscultural influences which may have introduced this wonderful art to India. Since silver utensils play a significant part in family life and religious rituals, some beautiful filigree works bear their mark on the silver utensils available in the states numerous markets. http://orissadiary.com/orissa_tourism/art&craft/Silver%20Filigree%20or%20Trakashi.asp

Archive for the 'Handicrafts' Category

Filigree hub in Cuttack


Arts n crafts, Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Cuttack, MetalcraftchittaNo Comments

Following is an excerpt from a report in Telegraph. A major initiative to support and mobilise Orissas filigree artisans is on the cards. The initiative, involving both the central and the state governments, would be launched under the Union governments circuit development scheme. The project would be linked with the tourism sector in the state as plans are afoot to set up a Silver Filigree Centre at Mundasahi on the banks of Mahanadi river near here under the aegis of the Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC). Official sources said the project was conceived to identify the filigree potential in Cuttack and to ensure that artisans were not quitting their profession. An official survey had revealed that most of the silver filigree artisans wanted to sustain their skills provided it offers them benefit. The idea of setting up the Silver Filigree Centre at Mundasahi has been planned to link Tarkashi or silver filigree and tourism. The filigree centre will allow the tourists to go to a place showcasing the artisans work, Cuttack collector Kishore Kumar Mohanty told The Telegraph. Funds to the tune of Rs 1 crore from the Union government under its Circuit Development Scheme will be used to make the project a reality, the Cuttack collector said, adding that the district administration had demarcated a three acre plot for the project. The allotment of the land for it is under process, he said. Sources in OTDC said the initiative to give a fillip to the Cuttack Tarkashi art form involves identification of traditional artisans, bringing them under one roof and setting up infrastructure for live demonstration of the intricate method involved in the silver filigree work with a product sale facility. The proposed centre also envisages food, recreational facility and amusement park for children.
http://www.orissalinks.com/orissagrowth/topics/tourism-and-shopping-in-orissa/handicrafts

This is an ancient art of metal work practiced in the traditional way. Silver filigree has Cuttack as a centre. The Silver filigree craft is locally known as Tarkashi in Orissa. . The artifacts are made of alloy which contains over 90% of silver and to compete with the changing times new methods are being used..The artists have maintained the craft by keeping themselves updated with the market requirement . Platinum polish is also used and it leaves glare on the item. The silver is extracted through a series of consecutive smaller holes to produce fine strings of silver threads. The string is the specialty in the filigree jewelry.. Traditional items include figures of animals, birds and flowers. Konark Chakra and temple are the favorite mementos while a still depicting the chariot of Arjuna driven by Lord Krishna is quite popular. Brooches, ladies bags, pendants, earrings and hairpins and other utility items like the trays, plates, cups, candle stands

bowls, ash-trays, , incense containers, animals, birds, flowers, peacock and many more.
http://www.craftandartisans.com/silver-filigree-work.html http://www.cohands.in/handmadepages/pdf/222.pdf

Tarkashi is the silver filigree work of Orissa and Cuttack District is renowned for this method. The technique involves beating and drawing of silver into fine wires and foils. These are then bent and joined together in an artistic manner producing a wide variety of decorative items. The final product has a snowy finish to it. Tarkashi is usually used in the making of ornaments. Other articles made using this process feature boxes, trays, bowls, spoons and many more items. A special style called 'Karim Nagar design' employs more delicate and complicated designs. These designs are especially used in the styling of Perfume containers. This style is also used in the ornamentation of plates, bowls, water-pots and tumblers.
http://www.india9.com/i9show/Tarkashi-of-Orissa-45102.htm

SILVER FILIGREE WORK (ORISSA)


Documented by Dr. Bibhudutta Baral, National Institute of Design, Bengaluru

Filigree is an attractive type of work used in silver jewellery making. Among the important centres are Cuttack in Orissa and Karim Nagar in Andhra Pradesh. As twisted silver wire is the base material, the articles have a lacy trellis-like appearance. Cuttack has been famous for its spider web work and the filigree work is locally known as Tarkashi. It produces very exquisitely patterned jewellery pieces. The rose flower dominates the design in the Cuttack region and most of the designs are built up around flowers. In Karim Nagar, creepers and leaves predominate. They have a unique method for fixing firmly, the numerous components. The craftsmen, who belong to the Sunar, (goldsmith) community of Orissa, practise the craft which was introduced in the state during Mughal rule. Thick silver wires are used to make the frame into which small design pieces (sikko) made from thinner wires are fitted. The craftsmanship lies in fitting the small parts perfectly in the frame. Decorative and elaborate motifs influenced by the Mughal era have inspired the intricate designs produced by the craftsmen. They make jewellery and decorative figures like idols of gods, animals and replicas of the Konark wheel and the TajMahal. The process includes wire being drawn and then pressed in different shapes. The smaller articles are directly moulded into various designs. For larger ones, smaller components are made and pieced together. Traditional jewellery items made by this art form include arm jewellery, necklaces, nose rings and the anklets. Modern jewellers also make brooches, earrings, pendant, hair pins, and bangles along with other utility items like trays, plates, cups, bowls, ash-trays, candle stands, incense containers, vermilion containers, animals, birds, flowers, peacock, chariots and even ladies bags. Filigree work of Orissa is an example of a great artistic excellence which is rarely found in India. Thin silver wires are carefully shaped and made into intricate designs. Fine strings of silver threads are produced by drawing it through a series of consecutive holes of very small diameter. These wires are then heated and wound around a charkha, and then later fastened together. These threads are then shaped into various designs and patterns. Filigree is thus a combination of different pieces joint together. Cuttack is the hub of silver filigree locally known as Tarkasijewelry attracting people from all over the world. Various products are made out of Filigree such as Plates, bowls, cups, trays, necklaces, bracelets, and many others. The motifs frequently used are peacock, birds, flowers, leaves and many more.
http://www.dsource.in/gallery/gallery-0150/index.html

Metal Craft Of Orissa


Metal Craft of Orissa has a distinct style that maintains the tradition of the state. Cuttack is famous in the entire world for the unique and delicate craft of `tarkashi` or well known as the silver filigree work. This art of creating items is considered one of the intricate works by the artisans who create splendid jewelleries with a touch of tradition. According to history, the filigree work or `tarkashi` of Cuttack was once sought after by royal households and merchants from far and wide.

http://www.indianetzone.com/41/metal_craft_orissa.htm

Filigree centre finds new location


- Legal hurdles come in the way of making original plot available for project
LALMOHAN PATNAIK

Cuttack, July 24: The site of the state governments silver filigree centre project near Jagatpur here has been shifted to another location because of land acquisition problems. The state government had conceived the project for the development of silver filigree craft of Cuttack including a training centre, a testing laboratory and a sales outlet. The district administration has identified another plot close to Revenue Colony in Tulasipur, on the western part of the city, about 12km from the original location. Legal hurdles came in the way of making the land available for the centre. This land was situated at Munda Sahi on the banks of the Mahanadi. Now we have decided to set up the centre at Tulasipurs Revenue Colony, Cuttack Collector S.N. Girish told The Telegraph today. Setting up of the centre has been included as a new project in the state handicraft, handloom and textile departments annual plan for 2012-13. The requisition for the land for the centre has already been received from the District Industries Centre (Cuttack). The process of alienation of the required land for the project will be completed within two months, Girish said. More than 500 years old, the craftsmanship on silver by Cuttack artisans has earned it the name of Silver City. Not only does it have a great export demand, but silver filigree ortarakashi ornaments and items are considered auspicious by a large number of people in the state. However, the artisans have been going through a hard time owing to the lack of proper policies and schemes for their development. Billed as a major initiative to give encourage the Cuttack tarakashi art form, the project involves identification of traditional artisans, bringing them under one roof and setting up infrastructure for live demonstration of the work that goes behind the making of the items and setting up a sale facility. Lack of resources and work in Cuttack has been forcing traditional craftsmen to change their profession. The proposed Silver Filigree Centre would be beneficial for these artisans, said 57-year-old Biswanath Dey, a master tarakashi craftsman, who has 10 to 15 artisans working under him. His son Ajay said: The talk of the centre has been on for quite some years now. Nothing tangible has happened yet. The silver filigree centre project was conceived four years ago to identify the filigree potential in Cuttack and to ensure that artisans did not quit the profession after an official survey revealed that most of the silver filigree artisans wanted to sustain their skills provided they could live on it. But the governments ambitious project has apparently been in limbo. The project had remained a non-starter even as three acres of

land was demarcated by the district administration at Munda Sahi near Jagatpur three years ago. Litigations raised in court by private parties came in the way of allotment of the land. The new location for the centre has been chosen after survey of the Tulasipur Revenue Colony land. The required land for the project is under government possession. So alienation of land for the purpose will not be a problem, the Cuttack collector said. Official sources said the centre was planned to link silver filigree with tourism and also give a boost to the Cuttack tarkashi art form because it would let tourists see how the artisans at work. The project was planned to be launched involving both the Centre and state government under the Union governments Circuit Development Scheme. Odisha Tourism Development Corporation was expected to link the centre with the tourism sector and Rs 1 crore had been planned to be used from the Union government under the scheme to give shape to the project. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120725/jsp/odisha/story_15766770.jsp#.UPEkDOR9vVo

Chandi Tarkashi Silver Filigree (Cuttack , Orissa)


Friday, December 16th, 2011

Silver filigree is a craft for which Cuttack is well-known. The craftsmen, who belong to the Sunar, goldsmith, community of Orissa, practice the craft which was introduced in the state during the Mughal rule. Thick silver wires are used to make the farma (frame) into which small sikko (design pieces) made from thinner wires are fitted. The craftsmanship lies in fitting the small parts perfectly in the farma. Decorative and elaborate motifs influenced by the Mughal era have inspired the intricate designs produced by craftsmen. They make jewellery and decorative figures like idols of gods, animals and replicas of the Konark wheel and the Taj Mahal. Objects used in the home such as photo frames, candle stands and cones to serve paan, betel nut leaf, are also common products. Sales of products increase during festivals and they can otherwise be found retailed in state and national emporia.
http://www.zariboxes.com/article/chandi-tarkashi-silver-filigree/

Silver filigree work of Cuttack


The Silver filigree craft is locally known as "Tarkashi" in Orissa. Cuttack is famous for the unique style of art and it has made a mark for itself in the arena of art and craftsmanship. The silver filigree work of Cuttack is very widely known and acclaimed for its superb finish, fine foils and snow glazed texture. It is a must for every visitor of Cuttack to feast his eyes with the sight of these works of art. The art of filigree has attained unconquerable heights of charm and beauty, demonstrating its capacity to remain unspoiled with the passage of time. For its intricate and magnificent style of art, Cuttack has brought this unique Orissan style of handicraft great fame and familiarity world over. Varieties This art form precisely has three main types known as fine, non-fine and superb-fine. They are further divided into three main parts known as silka (frame), rua(small balls), gopal(rose). The innumerable products have touched chords the world over and that has boosted the production too. The traditional products are basically hairpin, sinthis, rose pin, earrings, bangles, mangalsutras, toe-rings, finger-rings, payals, candlestands, mirror stands, chariot wheels etc. The ornamental trees, brooch, pendants and the highly proportionate peacock motifs are living examples of exquisite craftsmanship. But above all, the most beautiful, innovative creation of a skilled master craftsman is the silver filigree gate and decoration at the Choudhury Bazar, pooja mandaps in Cuttack that is displayed during Dusshera festival. It is the biggest and only one of its kind in the world. The art of filigree Silver filigree is mainly a decorative item that adorns the women folk. This art form is in vogue because of its unique craftsmen to produce exquisite, decorated, classical oriental and modern types of items. The silver filigree work of Cuttack is locally known as tarakasi and has a Mughal/Persian artistic influence. The Mughal designs have been incorporated in this pristine art. There are of course same sort of identical art forms found in Indonesia, which shows that the trade relations with these countries in the 12th centuries and 15th centuries had an immense influence on this silver filigree work of Cuttack. Role of Craftsmen Filigree work, a lineage inherited art genius of Oriyas, constitute a part of the work of the silversmiths. For their traditional and hereditary calling they are locally called Roopa Banias or Roupyakars. Silver filigree has been an important export item of Orissa from ancient times. This craft had sufficient encouragements during the Mughal period. Today export extends to various regions of the world such as Australia, US, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, UK etc. This art has undergone tremendous transformation and it would be a great moment to see this art form reaching out to the world on the new horizon. The artists with their vigour, versatility and creativity mingled with mechanisms had created a special place for themselves and this infinite beauty of filigree.
http://first-day-in-cdac.blogspot.in/2007/09/silver-filigree-work-of-cuttack.html pics

Tarakasi
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tarakasi is a type of silver Filigree work from Cuttack, a city from Orissa in the eastern part of India.

Origin
This highly skilled art form is more than 500 years old and is traditionally done by local artisans on the Eastern shores of Orissa.[1] Presently, the silver filigree workers are largely from the district of Cuttack, where the art flourishes. According to sources, the art may have come to Orissa through its trade links with Indonesia as the workmanship is similar to that done in Indonesia.[2][3] [edit]Technique The filigree artists work with an alloy of 90% or more pure silver.[3] First, the lump of silver is placed into a small clay pot and together the two are put into a bucket full of hot coals. The temperature is regulated through a bellow that is hand operated by a crank. The melting process takes about ten minutes and then the silver is poured into a small, rod-like mold and cooled by submerging the rod in water. The rod is then placed into a machine that will press the rod into a long, thin wire. This tedious and physically demanding process had been done traditionally by hand and took two men to turn the crank. Once the silver is pressed into a flat, workable wire, the wire itself can first be hand carved with intricate designs, or immediately smoldered by a small kerosene fire with one artist directing the small flame with a hollow tube held in his mouth into which he can blow. This process makes it easier for the artisan to mold the wire into the desired frame for the piece before it is cooled. Next the wires are strung together and twisted and shaped into a design by the artists precise fingers. Soldering is done by placing the piece into a mixture of borax powder and water, sprinkling soldering powder onto it and then placing it once again under the small flame. This insures that the detail of the design will stay intact. Once this is done, the artist will then take the warm piece and shape it into its form as an ornament. Techniques such as granulation, snow glazing and casting are also used innovatively to heighten the effect. Artisan Jagdish Mishra, speaking of the various techniques employed says, "The tastes of the customers keep changing and artists must be up to date with to keep up with emerging trends". Such new methods and experimentation are increasingly being employed to produce highly polished and refined artifacts in keeping with the demands of customers. Platinumpolishing is done to give a more lasting shine whereas fusion of silver and brass or other materials is done to create some rather interesting effects. [edit]Tradition Forms of animals, birds, flowers and even miniature handbags and other souvenirs are made in Tarakasi work. The Konark Chakra and temple are great favorites as mementos. Scenes from the Mahabharata, in particular the still from the Bhagavad Gita depicting the chariot of Arjuna driven by Lord Krishna are quite popular.recently, Bishandayal Jewellers in Cuttack constructed an entire replica of the Taj Mahal out of 55 kg of silver. The filigree jewelry is particularly rich in patterns. In Orissa, the stress is on arm jewelry, necklaces, toe rings and especially anklets, which are a great favorite. They are considered auspicious as well. Various kinds of intricate anklets, combining use of semi-precious stones are greatly preferred. Vermillion boxes, brooches, pendants, earrings and hairpins are also in great demand.Vermillion box is must in any Oriya marriage but this tradition now dying out.Waist band made from Tarakasi work were used traditionally in the marriage.Oriya marriages are incomplete without the Tarakasi anklets and toe rings.[4] [edit]Odissi The jewellery worn in Odissi, one of the classical dances of India originating from Orissa are made from Tarakasi work.These Ornaments adorn the head, ear, neck, hands, fingers and waist of the dancer. The ornaments include a choker, padaka-tilaka (a long necklace) , bahichudi or tayila (armlets), kankana(bracelets), a 'Mekhalaa' (belt), anklets, bells, kapa (earrings) and a seenthi (ornament work on the hair and forehead). These ornaments are embellished with natural un-cut stones lined with silver and gold.

Durga puja
The introduction of the Sharadiya Utsav tradition in the city dates back to the visit of Saint Chaitanya in 16th century when the consecration of the idol of Durga by using the mask pattern was conducted in his presence at Binod Behari Devi Mandap. Every year, during Durga Puja in Cuttack, Tarakasi jewelry is used at many pandals to embellish the idols of Durga. One of the most famous idols is the one at Chandni Chowk, where the entire crown and accessories of Durga are made of silver, popularly known as Chaandi Medha. Other pandals those used Tarakasi are Chauliaganj, Choudhury Bazar, Khan Nagar, Banka Bazar, Balu Bazar etc. Every year more than 150 filigree artisans are engaged in making backdrop and ornament design.
[5]

The style was introduced at the

Choudhury Bazaar puja pandal with a 250 kg chandi medha in 1956. Following suit, Sheikh Bazaar puja mandap installed a 350 kg Chandi Medha in 1991.In 2004, Ranihat puja committee joined the elite group with a 483 kg of silver filigree backdrop, jewellery and weaponry. In the following year, Haripur-Dolamundai puja committee superseded Ranihat when it installed 500 kg silver filigree.In 2006, the Sheikh Bazaar committee remodelled a new backdrop using 450 kg of silver.Chandini Chowk, Sheikh Bazaar, Alisha Bazaar, Chauliaganj, Badambadi, Ranihat, Haripur-Dolamundai and Balu Bazaar-Binod Behari puja committees are vouching for the filigree work.There is a competition to notch the best show every year among all puja committees in Cuttack.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarakasi pics Jewelry Odissi dance is complemented by intricate filigree silver jewelry pieces. Filigree, in French, means thin wire, and in Oriya it is called Tarchasi. This highly skilled art form is more than 500 years old and is traditionally done by local artisans on the Eastern shores of Orissa. The jewelry pieces themselves are an important part of the Odissi dancers costume and is comprised of the tikka (forehead ornament), allaka (head piece on which the tikka hangs), unique ear covers in intricate shapes, usually depicting a peacocks feathers, with jimkis (bell shaped earrings) hanging from them, two necklaces- a smaller necklace worn close to the neck and a longer necklace with a hanging pendant, and two sets of bangles worn on the upper arm and wrist. The process of creating each piece takes the collaboration of many artisans each specialized in one step of the many that turns a lump of raw silver into a handcrafted work of art. First, the lump of silver is placed into a small clay pot and together the two are put into a bucket full of hot coals. The temperature is regulated through a bellow that is hand operated by a crank. The melting process takes about ten minutes and then the silver is poured into a small, rod-like mold and cooled by submerging the rod in water. The rod is then placed into a machine that will press the rod into a long, thin wire. This tedious and physically demanding process had been done traditionally by hand and took two men to turn the crank. Once the silver is pressed into a flat, workable wire, the wire itself can first be hand carved with intricate designs, or immediately smoldered by a small kerosene fire with one artist directing the small flame with a hollow tube held in his mouth into which he can blow. This process makes it easier for the artisan to mold the wire into the desired frame for the piece before it is cooled. Next the wires are strung together and twisted and shaped into a design by the artists precise fingers. Soldering is done by placing the piece into a mixture of borax powder and water, sprinkling soldering powder onto it and then placing it once again under the small flame. This insures that the detail of the design will stay intact. Once this is done, the artist will then take the warm piece and shape it into its form as an ornament. Finally, the ornament is filed down and polished by soaking it in a frothy mixture of water and split nuts from a tree called soap nut. The ornament is now ready to be pieced together to others like it and worn by the dancer. Head piece The crown, or mahkoot, worn by the Odissi dancer is made only in the devotional city of Puri in Eastern Orissa, where the great Jagganath temple is located. It is formed from the dried reed called sola in a tradition called sola kama. The reed is carved by a series of cuts into the rode-like stem and forms various types of flowers when a string is tied in the middle of the rod and pulled tight. As the string tightens, flowers bloom into, jasmines, champa-one of the five flowers of Lord Krishnas arrows, and kadamba -the flowers under which Rhada would wait for her beloved Lord Krishna. The mahkoot consists of two parts. The flower decorated back piece, called the ghoba, sits around the dancers hair pulled into a bun at the back of the head. This piece represents the lotus with a thousand petals that lies above the head in the head chakra, or energy center. The longer piece that emerges from the center of the back piece is called the thiya and this represents the temple spire of Lord Jagganath or the flute of Lord Krishna. [6

http://www.odissivilas.org/costumes.htm

Silver, Silver, Shining Bright


by Alipta Jena

A tinkling of anklets, a glimmer of silvery light; a shimmering artifact, with a sheen of purity. Welcome to the world of silver and a world where it is almost magically crafted into lovely art forms and fascinating pieces of adornment. Rooted in customs, traditions and folklore, the land of Orison is a home to many handicrafts and art forms such asPatachitra, appliqu work, terracotta, brass work and not the least among them is the silver filigree work

of Cuttack, locally known asTarakashi. This delicate craft is especially renowned for its unparalleled intricacy. The art is ancient, and dates back to the dawns of early history. Presently, the silver filigree workers are largely from the district of Cuttack, where the art flourishes. According to sources, the art may have come to Orissa through its trade links with Indonesia. The filigree artists work with an alloy of 90% or more pure silver. Silver is beaten and then drawn into fine wires and foils. The wires are then made finer by drawing silver through a series of consecutively smaller holes to produce finer strands. The wires are then twisted into various shapes by binding them into different designs and soldering them with pincers and scissors specially made for the purpose. The end results are articles and ornaments of ethereal beauty. Techniques such as granulation, snow glazing and casting are also used innovatively to heighten the effect. Artisan Jagdish Mishra, speaking of the various techniques employed says, "The tastes of the customers keep changing and artists must be up to date with to keep up with emerging trends". Such new methods and experimentation are increasingly being employed to produce highly polished and refined artifacts in keeping with the demands of customers. Platinum polishing is done to give a more lasting shine whereas fusion of silver and brass or other materials is done to create some rather interesting effects. The works in Tarakashi are a tribute to the vision of the deft craftsmen; a combination of beauty and utility. Like all other crafts of Orissa, Tarakashi is gloriously alive to and caters to modern tastes while retaining all essential links with a rich and varied cultural past. Forms of animals, birds, flowers and even miniature handbags and other souvenirs are made. The Konark Chakra and temple are great favorites as mementos. Scenes from the Mahabharata, in particular the still from the Bhagavad Gita depicting the chariot of Arjuna driven by Lord Krishna are quite popular. The filigree jewelry is particularly rich in patterns. In Orissa, the stress is on arm jewelry, necklaces, toe rings and especially anklets, which are a great favorite. They are considered auspicious as well. Various kinds of intricate anklets, combining use of semi-precious stones are greatly preferred, according to Jagannath Mohapatra, proprietor, Ashok Jewelers, Cuttack. Vermillion boxes, brooches, pendants, earrings and hairpins are also in great demand, with prices ranging from twenty rupees to two thousand rupees. Amrita Pattnaik, bride to be admits that though ornaments are generally

made of gold during marriage, some items are traditionally preferred in silver, such as toe rings, anklets and vermilion boxes and waist chains. Silver filigree and other silver items have, like other handicrafts, an important socio-cultural function in Orissa. The child's first drop of water is fed to it in a silver bowl by a silver spoon. The first solid food fed to the child, usually a dish of rice or kheer, is fed to it in a silver bowl in a function known as anna prasanna. A newly wed bride too, is traditionally presented a set of silver dishes. Silver dishes are also used to serve prasad to deities during religious ceremonies. Temples have sets of silver ornaments for presiding deities. Every year, during Durga Puja in Cuttack, silver filigree jewelry is used at manypandals to embellish the idols of Maa Durga. One of the most famous idols is the one at Chandni Chowk, where the entire crown and accessories of Durga are made of silver, popularly known as Chaandi Medha. It's a dazzling sight for all to behold. Only recently, Bishandayal Jewellers in Cuttack constructed an entire replica of the Taj Mahal out of 55 kgs of silver. Such innovations have always formed part of the history of Oriya filigree work. Today, Tarakashi workers continue to uphold the tradition of outstanding workmanship but the demands of the clientele have changed, resulting in a comparatively reduced and standardized variety of articles. The artisans complain that the craze for costume jewelry has resulted in a decrease in the demand for silver jewelry. "Youngsters are more easily influenced by the fashions shown on television and neglect traditional items", they complain. Yet a certain revival of interest has been observed among the younger generation. Kriti Shrivastav, Delhi, expresses an ardent interest in silver jewelry, especiallyKadas (bracelets) and earrings. Fashion trends seem to be changing and showing a return to silver jewelry in all its forms - platinum polished, oxidized or filigree. Silver continues to retain its moonlit shine in the field of Oriya craftsmanship.
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Durga Puja revives filigree artwork in Orissa


Ongoing Durga Puja festival provides boost to the filigree artwork business in Cuttack. During the festival, artisans have been getting many orders to prepare the crown and other ornaments of the deities. "Now they have got sufficient work. Earlier they were sitting idle," said Suryakant Singhania, president, balubazar puja committee (a festival committee). Many Puja committees have placed the orders with the artisans for creating the backdrop and pandal (makeshift temple)

decorations. The festival in a way has brought back shine to the dying filigree art, which was at one time quite popular in Cuttack. Artisans want this artwork is known all over the country. " Artisans will be highly benefited. The artwork is known in Orissa. But slowly it will be famous in the entire country," said Purnachandra, Secretary, chowdhuri bazar committee (festival committee). Every year more than 150 filigree artisans are engaged in making backdrop and ornament design. The intricate silver filigree or 'tarakashi' designs are used in creating jewellery of the Goddess and the tableau that render divine sparkle to the idol. Filigree, the "wire work", is a delicate jewel work, which is made with twisted threads usually of gold and silver. (ANI)

Tarkashi or silver filigree work has been an integral part of Odishas craft heritage for over 500 years. Centred in Cuttack District, it is today a dying art due to the demanding nature of the artistry and incommensurate returns. As the raw material is pure silver which is in short supply, the artisans are often taken advantage of by unscrupulous suppliers. While a few institutions are working towards revival of our craft, a shot in the arm can come only from increased demand and sales. We hope our jewellery will generate a good response from Chennais discerning public, says master craftsman Praveen Kumar Sahu. How do the ornaments get their lacy and delicately veined look? Silver pieces are melted, poured into ingot moulds and cooled. The silver ingot is hammered by hand and drawn into filaments of varying thinness by passing it through a steel plate with holes of varying gauges. A marble slab spread with black sand is used as the work surface as the silver wires are clearly visible against the dark background. Now comes the most difficult part. The wires are fused piece by piece to form a design by directing just the right amount of heat. For this, air is blown towards a flame of a lamp, through a small bent copper pipe. The air pressure is very important. Blowing too hard melts the silver into a shapeless mass, blowing too gently results in the wires not getting fused properly, It takes days or even months to complete certain designs. Prices range from Rs.200 to Rs. 1,500 and above for the more intricate pieces, he adds. Slide a finely wrought floral or peacock motif into

your hair and discover a whole new dimension to dressing up your tresses.Coveted possession or ideal gifting option, Tarkashi shines bright in its unique appeal.
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-fridayreview/classic-and-contemporary/article3841897.ece?css=print

FILIGREE AND SOME MEMORIES


March 7, 2009

My love for Filigree started long back, when i was about 8-9 years old . Since my family hails from Orissa, a trip to Cuttack in summer was a given. My trips to Cuttack meant a lot of pampering , and it all came in the form of silver trinkets, anklets and pendants. Silver in Cuttack in those days was available and sold like it were a cheap, useless piece of metal. Almost every unmarried girl wore silver. Most of the silver you got in Cuttack then was with filigree work. Most say the artisans in Cuttack have unmatched potential for the art. Filigree or tarakashi as it is locally known in Orissa, is said to be world famous. But it is sad- the way the art is dying. The karigar /Artisan there, lack design and direction to cater to modern day tastes and demand. They still produce the run of the mill Konark wheels, peacocks, idols, pendants and anklets. The designs that I saw as a 9 year old are still being made. The Konark wheels used to be one of the most gifted mementos at one point in time. I still see them in state handicraft emporiums and they seem to be quite a hit with the foreign tourists.

http://silveratti.wordpress.com/2009/03/07/40/ 13/1 PCS VIDEO - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vB6y7iBxIY