Nepalese water pots
Walk through the streets of India or Nepal and you're bound to see Copper Water Pots like this one, in the photo below, in everyday use - though nowadays plastic jerry cans are becoming more popular.
These new copper pots were on sale in the lovely town of Patan in the Kathmandu valley in Nepal. The whole street is dedicated to selling copper ware.
We spent New Year 2018 looking for stepwells in the old fortified town of Wadhwan in Gujarat - one of the most delightful and friendly towns we've ever visited. The sound of hammering permeated the streets and it seemed like the whole town was making brass and copper water pots - here's a few photos.
Wadhwan's also famous for Bandhani tie dye fabrics and we saw all stages of the process which we talked about in this blog - Tied Up In Knots.
The Vintage Iron Water Pot below is a beautiful object, the riveted construction is clear to see and the patination and rust markings create wonderful surface texture. It may be a functional object but care has been given to include a geometric pattern of hammered work around the neck - traditional everyday objects in India always included some of the maker's decorative skills and treated with reverence.
Progress and Clean Water
Houses in older districts and villages often don't have drinkable water - what do you do? You take your old copper pot and go to the well for your water. It's a part of life that's been unchanged for hundreds of years though, with modernisation, water is now being piped to more houses.
Interestingly, this has social consequences not all of which are welcome. For many women and girls - for it is they who will have to walk to the well - getting out of the house and mixing with other women at the well provided some freedom and a chance to socialise and gossip with other women, away from the men and the in-laws. Clean tap water is certainly progress but for some women and girls, especially in rural India, progress has come at a price.
This is one of several communal stepwells in Patan.
Patan, a small town near Kathmandu, has been famous for it's skilled artisans for hundreds of years. The backstreets are full of small workshops, the sounds of hammering and smoke from metal castings are everywhere. If you want a new copper water vessel this is where you'll go. Copper is also used for making the Buddhas and Ganesh statues for which Patan is famous.
Water Pots in the UK!
Back here in the UK we can use these beautiful simple items just as decorative stand-alone vases or as containers for dried grasses. Since they're watertight you can also use them for flowers.