The tradition of copper and bronze utensils from our kitchens is losing ground. These precious daily items of a wonderful kitchen are being replaced by modern kitchenware with the result such collections has almost disappeared from our markets and has taken a due place on the shelves of museums and galleries to be kept for visitors. With the decline of these utensils, this art is declining fast and its manufacturers have become extremely rare and only found in the old towns of this land. However, there were the times when Kashmir was the centre of copper and bronze artifacts and people from distant lands arrived here to purchase these utensils. One of the ancient bronze centers of Kashmir was Deviser in south Kashmir.
The village is situated on the foothill of South Kashmir, in the medieval periods; the village was a learning centre for casting of Bronze images. Several bronze sculptures are being reported to have been found in Deviser in past, but unfortunately most of such images had gone unrecorded. Either those artifacts had been destroyed or taken to other places, reveals the report.
Deviser’s cultural significance got revealed in year 1931 when a master archaeological find in shape of a bronze frame incidentally made its appearance in one of the plateaus of the village. It depicted various images of a Hindu deity and is dated to the period of Shankar Varman. The king in 10th Century A.D. is said to have constructed many royal places in Deviser besides few Hindu temples. However, of its antiquities the place besides revealing few artifacts and coins has only preserved the basement of a temple identified as Narisema temple.
The bronze sculpture and the frame which depicts several incarnations Lord Vishnow are the masterpieces of Kashmir’s ancient metal art. These figures had been brilliantly casted and the eyes in these sculptures are inlaid with silver lines. The sculpture of Buddha is also recorded as the earliest bronze sculpture of Kashmir and it also depicts the strong influence of Gandhara art.
The bronze frame which besides other incarnations also carries the wonderful incarnation of Surya (the sun God) measures 6’ 2” ft. long 4’ 4” ft. broad about 1’ 2” ft. thick and 3 mounds and four seers in weight. It is oval shaped with its bottom end flattered on its borders it carriers images of Hindu deities. The images are brilliantly cast.
This is the only find of this kind know from Kashmir and described in various leading archaeological books of the world it is on the basic of this find that Devsar’s artistic activities of Shankar Varma’s period are established. During the times the Kashmiri bronze sculpture art attained a high degree of craftsmanship which continued for decades together.
The Sultans and Mughal emperor also has visited the site and made it as an important Pargana of their empire. There is the mention of Deviser in various chronicles and provide description of several events, which took place in its hills. One of such event recorded in history says that Zawalchu the tyrant invades who entered Kashmir during the period of Raja Suhadeva and had spread terrorism finally got killed in the hills of Deviser.
The event adds that Zawalchi who had killed numerous people and made thousands as prisoners once asked for the way leading to Hindustan, he was shown the Devsar way.
Devsar’s historical significance is well established besides its artistic activities. Historians claim that they have got ample evidences to believe that in the ancient times a rich urban civilization flourished at Devesar. Several archaeologists had also visited it. R .C. Kak, a veteran archaeologists made extensive surveys of the area. John Siudmak who has been working on Kashmir archaeology speaks of the Devsar’s as most significant archaeological site.