The gleaming earthy-brown, Copperware.

The gleaming earthy-brown, Copperware.

The ethnic Kashmir is inconceivable without the vermillion of Kashmiri red chilies and winter vegetables drying on the windowsill of the old Srinagar kitchen, flashing a hint of copper tableware. The shelves decorated with gleaming tasht naer, copper plates, casseroles, samovar, and likes are A number 1 in assorted tableware in the region. They are traditional to Kashmir and add four moons to the Kashmiri dashtarkhaan. Families in Kashmir lovingly get the initials of the members of the family engraved on the ware or only that of the eldest member. This is done to distinguish the tableware of one family from the other which otherwise gets convoluted to separate from others during the ceremony.

Zaina Kadal, one of the oldest markets of copperware, hustles with gleam and clank of the copper utensils. The customer’s bargaining for the best price, negotiating on the designs and numbers horde the by lanes. The natural copper tones are sold for ornamental purposes whereas the copper is galvanized with tin for everyday use.

Stunning floral motifs, calligraphy, geometric patterns, and chinar leaves are drawn on the bland utensils with chisel and hammer rendering it to be an epitome of culture and tradition. In addition to these, the utensils and decorative are a monotonous canvas for a craftsman to pour out his thoughts and the jam of the day. Elaborate and broad Naqashi means a higher price. The ones with a ‘the less are more’ turn of mind end up spending less in the bazaar.

‘Kandhari’ is the local name for copperware and ‘traam’ for copper.

The journey of a copper utensil starts with a ‘Barak Saaz’ contouring melted copper into circular handles, stands, loops, and borders. The ‘Chargar,’ gives this raw material a final change to make it smooth. The finished product is sent to ‘Naqashqar,’ who engraves the traditional design on the finished metal. In the final stage ‘Kalaisaaz,’ a polisher polishes the engraved utensil for a domestic run.

Huge copper utensils are used for cooking wedding feasts overnight on the bonfires. The regal wedding feasts start with a portable handwash, ‘tasht naer,’ while the mother of the bride or groom kindles herbs in a copper izband sozz warding off the evil. This is followed by the heaped wazwan in tream covered by the conical sarposh. Slotted trays carrying the chutneys, pickles, and curd are also beautified by naqashi. These are thought to infuse magical properties to the eats which stop the aging process. A Kashmiri wedding is unachievable without these.

With Hands of Gold, get this inviting tableware home and showcase the majestic grandeur.

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