Though copper industry in Kashmir faced many setbacks but the health hazards of non-copper metals have once again pushed the populace towards the use of copperware

By Amir Rafi

Undoubtedly, Kashmir is rich in handicrafts, heritage and natural beauty. Among the elegant treasures, the traditional art of crafting copperware is deep-rooted in Kashmiri culture. Though the famous copper work art in Kashmir has faced a major setback due to the changing trend of household items, the use of copper made products are regaining its lost glory in the households of Kashmir.

Copper work in Kashmir Pic credit: Amir Rafi

Mohammad Rafiq, a local coppersmith at Zaina Kadal said that the copperware is good for health and due to the reason people now a day are showing a keen interest in using the copper made utensils.

Apart from the tools required for the manufacturing of copper products, charcoal is essential for the coppersmiths but the people associated with copper manufacturing business these days complain about the shortage of charcoal. “Charcoal is vital for copper manufacturing but the shortage and high prices make it difficult for the craftsmen to carry on this profession,” said Mohammad Rafiq.

Copper work in Kashmir. Pic Credit: Amir Rafi

He added that the copper industry is dying a slow death because the government is not coming up with an initiative to upgrade this industry. “The government comes up with some training courses with the latest technology about copper work so that our future generations could choose this profession as their career,” Rafiq said.

For generations, the attractive designs carved on the copper utensils have lured the people in and outside Kashmir Valley. Copperware is used in most of the homes here in the valley. The traditional ‘trami’ (a large plate in which 4 people share food) system in marriage functions to serve the feast have made an everlasting place in the valley. ‘Trami’.  Besides the traditional “Samavar’ (a traditional Kashmiri kettle used to brew, boil and serve Kashmiri, Noon Chai and kahwa) is being used on all functions and large gatherings. Copper is not only popular among the locals but it’s a main attraction for the tourists also as they mainly prefer to take gifts of ‘Kandkari Trami, Samovar, plates, etc.

Abdul Rashid a coppersmith at Fateh Kadal is running this business for over 40 years and he has learned the art from his ancestors. “Nowadays copper utensils are being made in different and latest designs and the customers are admiring it,” Rashid said and added, “We should avoid the frequent use of disposable items in our marriage functions because disposable items are not good for health and neither for the environment.”

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