Nakkashi, as fascinating as its name, the jewelry falls no short in celebrating the very art of “accessorizing.” From the archaic times, adornments are believed to be the signatory of several legends, figurative of the wisdom of ages and handiwork of traditions. Nakkashi can be called the sophisticated mix of the three.
Tracing the Footprints of the Legendary Style
Nakkashi is recognized by vivid names in different cultures. Some of the most popular of them are nakashu velai, nakkashi, repousee sheet gold technique, etc. If it is to be explained in simpler terms, Nakkashi can be synonymizes with embossing. Repousse is a French word with a literal translation of “pushed up”. What fascinates here is that chasing which can be referred to as the antonym of it is the very thing artists do! The final product is the resultant of “chasing” the forms on the metal.
The technique hence found its traces in the Greek and Roman culture as well. It was an art skill adopted and incorporated on gold and silver for finely detailed jewelry while on tin and bronze for sculptures. And while talking about sculptures, the Statue of Liberty is one of the finest specimens of this artwork!
Nakkashi is one of the prominent jewelry making technique of South India too. It has marked its place in several legends. The process is mentioned by the Buddhist writer Asvaghosha in his work in the 1st century AD.
Moving Forward with Technique of Nakkashi
The course of action commences with beating precious metals like gold or silver into fine sheets to reproduce an image or design. It moves forward with executing desired details via etching and engraving. Later a slender pate of the gold or preferably silver is fixed. The sheet has a tiny hole in it and the mold is more often filled for shape retention.
The very intricacy of the process allows the designers to shape the metal into fabulous forms. One can feature his ingenuity through more complex designs that can later be enhanced with gemstones.
The whole process is very laborious. This doesn’t come as surprising as to why the jewelry crafting using Nakkashi demands a rare equanimity from the craftsmen! Skill and practice are the keys to nail it as a deviation in one might damage the entire piece for worse!
And as complex, as it sounds, Nakkashi isn’t the end product of technicalities in jewelry crafting. The molds or the templates are usually set during initial stages but using the same in different permutations and combinations to exude a “new-found” every time is indeed a work of art.
Nakkashi: The Art of Storytelling
One of the most striking appeals about Nakkashi is its use in mythology. It’s no different than storytelling – only the dialects are drenched in the luxury of gold! Every piece is intended to be narrative or possesses a rich symbolism like an architectural inspiration from a temple. And Nakkashi, referring it as winning combination of artistic imagery, technical diligence and handiwork won’t be completely wrong.