Silver Filigree Work Cuttack, Odisha – The Fine Tarakashi
Traditionally, the women of Odisha wear a lot of silver jewellery including solid and carved bracelets, waistbands and armlets, as well as and the exquisitely-carved lace tarakashi ornaments. The tarakashi or filigree Of Cuttack has made it famous as the Silver City of Odisha.
A bride’s trousseau is incomplete without the traditional jewellery, a small eye-shaped kohl container, and a tiny silver chest for her mother-in-law to store betel nuts. A married woman traditionally wears silver anklets and toe rings. When a child is born, the newborn is gifted with silver glass, bowl, and spoon. The tarakashi is, therefore, used on all auspicious occasions in households in the Indian state of Odisha.
During Durga Puja, Cuttack showcases its silver filigree skills to the maximum. There are at least seven images of Goddess This highly skilled art form is more than 500 years old and is traditionally done by local artisans on the eastern shores of Odisha. Presently, the silver filigree workers are largely from the district of Cuttack. Historians say that the art may have come to the state through its trade links with Indonesia as the workmanship is similar to that done in Indonesia. The filigree artists work with an alloy of 90% or more pure silver.
Durga lavishly decorated with silver jewellery. The lotus necklace, the silver crown, and her ten arms in silver Ornaments make the idol truly magnificent. Visitors pour in to have a glimpse of the idols.
Little silver boxes, statues, containers, glasses, plates, bowls, Konark wheels, ships crafted in thin silver thread, specimens of Odisha’s glorious maritime history, and idols of Lord Jagannath and his siblings are the most popular silver products at the numerous silver shops and emporia spread in the twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. The prices of these products depend upon their weight.
First, a lump of silver is melted and is then poured into a small, rod-like mold and cooled. The rod is then placed into a machine that presses the rod into a long, thin wire. Once the silver is pressed into flat, workable wire, the wire itself can first be hand carved with intricate designs, or immediately smoldered by a small kerosene fire, with the artist directing the small flame with a hollow tube held in his mouth into which he blows. The wires are then strung together, and twisted and shaped into a design by the artist’s nimble fingers.