Janmamad Salemamad Luhar is a master bell maker from the Muslim Luhar community in Kutch in Gujarat, India. The metal craftsmen of his village have preserved and practiced the art of bell making for over 300 years. Originally used by local cattle, camel, sheep and goat herders, whose animals grazed in the nearby Banni grasslands, the melodic iron and copper-coated bells were made to adorn the animals’ necks and were thought to create good vibrations in the body of the animals to increase the productivity of the herds. Today, the highly-polished and finely-tuned bells hang in entranceways and are combined to make wind chimes and other forms of festive decoration. The daily life of the entire artisan family revolves around the craft, which begins with the men preparing the iron bells from locally sourced scrap iron. While many artisans are trained in the basic art of welding the bells, few have the expertise to get the right tonal sounds out of them – a knowledge and skill that is passed from one generation to the other. Artisans carefully hand-set each bells’ tone with a tool called an ekalavai, and the quality of a bell’s tone is a reflection of the artisan’s mastery. This biographical sketch is excerpted from http://www.folkartmarket.org/artists/luhar-janmamad-salemamad/.
To find out more about Janmamad Salemamad Luhar’s work see: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/ghcc/eac/oralhistoryproject/resources/janmohammed/.