Seventeenth century craftsmanship meets modern design
Seventeenth century craftsmanship meets modern design in these copper meditation bowls or urli. Created by Tambat coppersmiths, as part of an initiative by social enterprise Coppre, each piece is painstakingly handcrafted. The process is seeded in Tambat tradition and utilises techniques handed down from father to son over generations.
There are eight stages in the creation of our best-selling copper meditation bowls, from initially cutting the copper sheeting, to moulding the shape, to the skilled art of beating, buffering and lacquering, to the end result. One of the most complex processes, requiring a high degree of skill, strength, dexterity and keen hand-eye coordination is the beating stage. Tiny rows of uniform indentations are created using a technique, called ‘Matharkaam, which is carried out using specially profiled beating hammers. The indentations create a reflective, mirror-like, appearance which radiates light. You can see the processes involved below:
Sheets of copper
Cutting the copper sheet
The basic shape
Heating the circle
And cooling it
Spinning the first draw to create the bowl shape
Annealing the copper
The raw copper meditation bowl (urli)
Beating to create rows of tiny uniform indentations
The final copper meditation bowl
The history of the Tambat craftsmen
The Tambat people have been handcrafting copper ware since the seventeenth century. They originally worked for the Peshwar rulers who were based in Pune, making armour, coins and cannons but with British rule and industrialisation they were forced to turn their attention to making utensils and ceremonial objects for the public. The community has been declining over the years as alternative metals and plastic have replaced the demand for copper goods and there are now only about 80 Tambat households remaining.
Revitalising a dying craft
Coppre, a dynamic social enterprise, which is supported by Indian NGO, INTACH, has been set up to revitalise this dying craft and improve the livelihoods of the Tambat coppersmiths by introducing modern designs and providing training and marketing. Copper wares were once considered heirlooms in India and we think that the timeless pieces Coppre and the Tambat craftsmen have created are ones to cherish and pass on.
Below, you can see some of the other designs in the range, from nature-inspired seed pod and sunflower tea light holders to copper platters. Click here to see the entire collection.
Photos of the Tambat craftsmen, Coppre