Naqqashi aur Lucknow

Naqqashi or the art of engraving has been long present in the city of Lucknow. It is believed that art of Naqqashi in Lucknow was introduced during the Nawabi times. The Nawabs of Lucknow were very enthusiastic about culture. They liked to involve and promote artistic, cultural and social activities of the time. The emergence of Naqqashi happened because of the same. Naqqashi is the art of engraving on various elements such as metals, generally copper utensils or decorative pieces. In Lucknow you could still find the prevalence in the old parts of the city, majorly in Yahiaganj. ‘Lal Alam ki Dukan’ in Yahiaganj is one of the oldest shop for naqqashi. While speaking to artist we discovered that this shop was started by a Hindu and has been going on for five generations. One can find naqqashi on copper utensils like pandan, khasdaan, deg, plates, wazu ka lota etc. Often the utensils are covered with ‘kalai’ (a seemingly silver coating) to give in a silver touch. The Alam prepared for Moharram is also engraved by the artists practising Naqqashi. Lucknow exhibits the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb from this art. The tools used in Naqqashi are unique. It requires constant hammering using flint and hammer, giving a particular design. Lucknow which was once the artistic hub of the country still showcases the same through the art of Naqqashi. If one is interested in learning about art forms, people and traditions it is advisable to take a stroll in the lanes of Yahiaganj and listen to the stories of past from the artists.

Credit : Intern – Nishita Banerjee