Sunday, December 20, 2015

Pembarti Metal Crafts

Location: Pembarti, Telangana 506201, India

Pembarti is 100Km from Hyderabad on National Highway (NH 163) to Warangal. The brassware of Pembarti is world famous. The air resounds with the continous clink and tap of mallets beating out brass sheets into fascinating and wonderful objects of art and utility.

Originally stone carvers, the artists have left their handiwork in the facades of innumerable stone carvings and temples all over India. Then when brass became common, they experimented with this material. The buildings of Vijayanagar at Hampi are ruins now, but their lower stories were sheathed in beaten copper and brass by the ancestors of the Pembarti craftsmen.

For some reason this widespread craft has survived only at the sleepy little village of Pembarti.

Scholars tell us of a previous age when iron was not known and copper and alloys were used for making metal tools and objects of daily use. A small part of that age is still with us but mostly in objects of art.
Statues, carvings, castings still continue to be made in the attractive copper alloys. The methods used are still ancient, traditional ones although the raw material today comes from modern mines and furnaces.

Indian brass is renowned the world over and chances are the brass potted planter in the foyer of a Manhattan hotel or Tokyo corporate office comes from Pembarti, a small village of Telangana which is a centre of brass work.

Brass lotas, large globular vessels and plates were in demand even up to the beginning of this century. But as time went on the market died out for these.

In recent times, tired of mass-produced dully uniform items, customers from affluent countries started noticing the unique Pembarthi craftsmanship. Now, as an example, brass and copper planters are prized. The Pembarthi designs are quite different from , say Moradabad or Benares brassware although the material is the same – factory made brass sheeet.

Innovative architects started using Pembarthi brassware in their designs as a integral whole rather than piecemeal “items” of furniture. This has led to a revival of the craft tradition.