A good skilled craftsman makes the craft unique & luxurious. While the word Thathera translates in English to Coppersmith & Brass smith, this metal beaton craft is locally called ‘Thathera or Metal Beaton Work’. The artisans in old Jaipur city have been practicing the craft since the day founding stone of Jaipur was laid. Over time the increased division of labour and craftsmanship led to increase in the average scale & scope of work. The community today works and market’s their products from a single, kilometre long stretch of small urban street called ‘Thatheron Ka Raasta’ in Jaipur.
Thatheras are basically a community of artisans who’ve traditionally worked with metals like brass, bronze, aluminium, copper, etc. They mainly fabricate beautiful utensils and tools, while also, undertaking repair and maintenance of the same. Members of community may also cultivate land.
The community is mainly divided into 47 clans, and are found across the country. Apart from Rajasthan, you’ll find Thathera communities working in state of Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh & Bihar. In Odisha, they are called ‘Kansari’ & the main clans of this community are Maharana & the Mahapatra. In Uttar Pradesh, the communities are based out of cities of Moradabad, Lalitpur, Jalaun, Banda, Lucknow, Mirzapur & Kanpur. Thathera community from Bihar is divided into a number of exogamous clans with Thathera caste surnames such as the Chandrahar, Chaswar, Mirdang & Amarpallo. Bihar based communities also work as jewellers.
Thatheras in Rajasthan mainly work out of the districts- Alwar, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Madhopur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Udaipur & Dungarpur. They speak Hindi, Khari Boli & Wagri among themselves, & Rajasthani with outsiders.
The brassware industry evolved in Jaipur in a way that the craftsmen were held together by an underlying unity based on apprenticeship & strong family bonds. Each family within the Thathera community specializes in making different objects or providing a specific service.
The design techniques & choice of materials of Jaipur’s Thatheras was shaped by the preferences of Hindu/Jains & Muslim communities that settled in the city. While Muslims preferred to use tin-plated (Kalai) copper utensils, Hindus traditionally have a preference for brass vessels.
We at IICD, have always maintained to promote the craft & authenticity of the craft.
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