A History of Copper from the Himalayas

 

 

In the Himalayas, Nepal was one of the most active copper mining areas during the medieval period.  Enjoying abundant deposits, Nepal was exporting considerable amounts of copper to Tibet and India as late as the 1800's.  There were villages composed entirely of miners and their families, and even in the present day, there are villages known by the name of Khani Gaon (Miner's Village). 

The Nepalese domestic production of copper declined at the end of the 19th century.  However, the skills of master copper craftsmen have been passed down through generations.  Coppersmiths in the Palpa region are still hammering sheets of copper into water basins, pitchers and trays, a traditional craft by which they have lived for centuries. (Shop copperware from Palpa)  The Patan Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, displays traditional sacred arts in cast bronzes and gilt copper repoussé.  Tourists can find all kinds of copperware in street markets, which are usually connected to coppersmiths' workshops nearby. 





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