Page:Pre-Aryan Tamil Culture.djvu/80

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household use, they had also to build houses, palaces, and temples, carts and chariots. Turning and wood-carving were highly developed. The legs of sitting planks and swinging planks were turned according different designs. Every available corner of wooden articles in houses, carts, and chariots were filled with wood carving, of elaborate patterns carved in minute detail with the extraordinary patience that the Indian artist alone is capable of. No work, big or small, left the carpenter's hands without some art work on it so that there was no sharp distinction as there is in Europe between utilitarian and artistic work. So much so that one of the synonyms for tachchan[1] is śittiran,[2] artist.

Boat building was also an ancient form of wood-work, but was in the hands of men who lived in Neydal, that is, coast land. It is worth noting that the boat builders were affiliated with fishermen, so far as social status was concerned. The work of the boat-builder is no less skilful than that of other carpenters; but yet the social position of the later was much higher than that of the former. This was partly because the boat-builders shared in the food and the personal habits of the fishermen among whom they lived; moreover the wood-work of the boat builder is cruder than that of the carpenter and does not admit of art work like other forms of wood work, so that the boatbuilder had the status of the journeyman worker whereas the carpenters were allotted the privileges of the artist. While the boatbuilders were of low status, chariot-makers were the companions of kings.

Workers in metal were called kammāḷar,[3] akkasālaiyar,[4] aṛivar,[5] ōvar,[6] kaṇṇālar,[7] kaṇvinaiñar,[8] kammiyar,[9] kollar,[10] karumār,[11] taṭṭār,[12] tuvaṭṭar,[13] pulavar,[14] punaīyar,[15] vittagar,[16] vittiar,[17] vinaiñar.[18] They worked in iron, steel, copper, bronze, silver and gold. They were very skilful workers as is proved by the specimens of jewels and utensils recovered from ancient graves. Huge vessels of these various metals were made by hammering into shape immense blocks of metals. This requires much more skill than the method of cutting out sheets, adar,[19] tagadu,[20] of metal, bending them into the shapes of the different parts of a vessel and rivetting or soldering them together, such as is done now. The import of large sheets of thin metal from Germany has made our workers forget the art of hammering out big vessels and making them without joints. The delicate carving on gold and silver that was the glory of ancient India is not yet dead, thanks to the love of personal decoration which modern civilization has not yet been able to root out of the souls of our ladies. Ladies loved jewels so much that there are many words which mean 'to wear jewels,' e.g., aṇi,[21] ār,[22] śūḍu,[23] punai,[24] pūṇ,[25] malai,[26] miḷai,[27] milai,[28] vēy,[29] ey,[30] vey;[31] the noun forms of many of these words mean jewels. Some professions subsidiary to that of the goldsmiths 'who heat good gold and make shining jewels out of it'[32]

  1. தச்சன்
  2. சித்திரன்
  3. கம்மாளர்.
  4. அக்கசாலையர்.
  5. அறிவர்.
  6. ஓவர்.
  7. கண்ணாளர்.
  8. கண்வினைஞர்
  9. கம்மியர்.
  10. கொல்லர்.
  11. கருமார்.
  12. தட்டார்.
  13. துவட்டர்.
  14. புலவர்.
  15. புனையர்.
  16. வித்தகர்.
  17. வித்தியர்
  18. வினைஞர்
  19. அகர்.
  20. தகடு.
  21. அணி.
  22. ஆர்.
  23. சூடு.
  24. புனை
  25. பூண்.
  26. மலை.
  27. மினை.
  28. மிலை
  29. வேய்.
  30. எய்
  31. வெய்
  32. குடுறு எனபொன் சுடரிழை புனைநரும். Maduraikkāñji, 512.