Friday, 3 July 2020

Thewa – Rajasthan’s unusual craft of gold on glass

“It’s difficult not to be dazzled by the beauty of thewa,” promised my companion as we traversed the crowded but colourful lanes of Ajmer towards a little shop selling this unusually crafted, albeit lesser-known, jewellery of Rajasthan. Indeed, thewa could easily be counted among the most amazing and delicate looking craft of India and what makes it unique is its characteristic fusing of dexterously cut, filigree-like gold sheets on molten glass.

As I looked at some of the stunning pieces on display, enjoying their intricate craftsmanship, the shopkeeper told me that the word ‘thewa’ means ‘setting’ in the local language. And although the demand for its artefacts, because of (perhaps) lack of awareness about it is still fairly low, he feels happy when art connoisseurs and those who appreciate intricate workmanship walk in and feel compelled to pick up thewa to add to their collection.

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Although not much is available on the origins of this craft, thewa is believed to go back nearly 450 years to the time of the Mughals, Nitesh Lakshminarayan Soni, a thewa craftsman, tells me proudly. But it came into its own as a consequence of the patronage given to its craftsmen by Mahrawat Sawant Singh (1775-1844), an erstwhile ruler of Pratapgargh – a little town that nestles about 160 km away from Udaipur.

via Lonely Planet India

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