Thaal from Chamba on display at  Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya in Bhopal
Thaal from Chamba on display at Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya in Bhopal

Bhopal: Thaal, a brass-made traditional ritual plate of Chamba in Himachal Pradesh is the Exhibit of the Month at Veethi Sankul of Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya here.

The exhibition was inaugurated by museum director PK Mishra on Tuesday. Museum assistant curator RM Nayal and assistant keeper Rajendra Kumar Jhariya have collected and composed the exhibit.

About the exhibit, Jhariya said crafts of Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh including metal craft, wood carving, basketry, embroidery represent the rich cultural tradition of the state. The exhibit is a traditional ritual plate that shows excellent metal craftsmanship of the area. This traditional plate is used by Gaddi and other folk communities in households and temples for religious offering, weddings and on other auspicious occasions.

Nayal said thaal is of two types - Ganesh Thaal and Vishnu Thaal. In Ganesh Thaal, Lord Ganesha occupies central position. Four-handed image of Lord Ganesha is shown decorated with conch, bangles, crown, garland etc. This is smaller in size.

Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya  director PK Mishra inaugurating the exhibit on Tuesday
Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya director PK Mishra inaugurating the exhibit on Tuesday

Vishnu Thaal is relatively bigger and consists of Lord Vishnu seated on lotus as the central image and surrounded by other incarnations - Matasya, Kurma, Varah, Narsingh, Vamana, Parshuram, Lord Ram, Krishna and Kalki. Now, artistes have also started making thaal in different shapes like rectangular, square, hexagonal etc containing images of other deities and their stories as per the demand and taste of clients.

These ritual plates with embossed figures are excellent examples of handicrafts of Chamba district. This is done by using the beating technique of casting. Usually, 30, 24, 20, 18 and 16 inches are regular sizes for circular plates and accordingly brass sheet is cut with metal cutter. At first, plate edge is prepared with chisel, hammer on which annular petal motifs are embossed. Paper drawing of Lord Vishnu is pasted in centre of plate. Then, craftsmen engrave it with help of pointed chisel and hammer.

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