Sunday, December 18, 2016

Learning about metalwork of Patan

It is said the metalwork of Patan area in the Kathmandu Valley is some of the best in the world. The lost wax method that is used is a subject of many studies. Today is our outdoors day. Last week we were in the sun filled terraces and hills of Jharuwarasi, this week we are walking along the deep dark alleys and then open sky courtyards of great beauty.

First stop, there is a small narrow shop. Pallav sir says we are to meet the owner, interview him and his wife and learn what we can from them. The owner's name was Krishna. He said that he fixes broken statues and mends the holes in them too. We saw him taking some statues, put them on a metal stool and then wearing  dark glasses to protect his eyes from bright light, he told us that he was going to heat the statues to mend them. His wife told us not to look into the fire too long. She gave us their phone number and we watched the metal statue being heated and how he fixed it. He used a long metal stick and something that looked like glue. We should have asked what all that was, oops, next time.

From there, we went through a small dark alley. Pallav sir again told us to go into this metal shop and interview the worker-owner. He left us alone to do this. We were nervous, he said the owner could chase us and we should run if he did. He went off to look for another place we could do research while we went in hesitantly. This metal shops owner's name was Balram, he had a smaller shop than the first one. He was really nice. I think Pallav sir was teasing us. Right now, he was making designs on the statue of a lion. He told us that for metalwork you can use copper, steel, silver, gold and other metals.
Saanvi made a small long lion out of some of copper by placing two of a lion’s body which did not have a head or tail on the side. She made a tail and added three heads. After she was finished with it, it broke: Oh No! I also made one like Sanvi’s but Sanvi's was better. The owner said that he sells his work in America and people give them to each other as Christmas gifts. We said bye-bye and thank you.
We reached a park where we decided to play some games for a while. Pallav sir asked me, Shaswat, Nitya and Abin to visit another metal shop that he had found. Three men were working in this shop. One was designing a statue and the other two were correcting the mistakes on statues the designer had made. I think the designer was the main man since he was designing the statues. While we were in the shop one of Shaswat's spectacle’s glass fell out. Fortunately the main man knew how to fix it, I found it a little bit funny. They would not tell us their names or let us take pictures of their faces. But they talked to us freely enough. We said thank you to them too.

We found two more shops that were right next to each other. The first shop had two men that were making statues of copper. They said that they would sell their work to whoever wanted the statues, they did not export. The second shop was fine tuning statues and there were two more men looking at what he was doing. He was heating the statues so we didn’t get to ask much, he said that he would sell them to whoever wanted them. 

I knew that during the afternoon one of the shop owners had to be mean. Pallav sir said that every time you go out, there is someone who may not be nice to us. But that is ok. We should try and ignore and go on with our fun and learning. This person did not even tell what he was doing or where he was sending the statues to. He told his name was Sanjiv. He just ignored us while wearing headphones and trying to look like he was not interested in our interview. So, we moved on without talking much to him.

We also visited Hiranya Varna Maha Vidhar or the Golden Temple which, we were told has some of the best metal work ever made in Nepal. There were four sculptures from the fourteenth century, imagine! And we took lots and lots of photos. I will be writing about this in detail next time. For the time being, enjoy the images from our afternoon. Thanks.

Here are some pictures clicked by me and Abin during our cultural tour.

by Utkrishta Mulmi

Monday, 12 December 2016

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