Srinagar, October 3: An award-winning Kashmiri master-craftsman and an oral historian have converged to create a distinct ‘Hand of Fatima’ – a symbol revered globally for its association with protection, power and strength.
Even as a similar symbol known as ‘panja’ is revered locally, the Kashmiri interpretation of the ‘Hand of Fatima’ shines with uniqueness. The amulet has been crafted meticulously from copper and is now captivating the hearts of art aficionados.
Master-craftsman Mohammad Aslam Bhat, well-known for breathing new life into copperware through intricate Islamic designs, proudly terms their version of the ‘Hand of Fatima’ a pioneering creation.
“This is a first-of-its-kind product, crafted from copper and accompanied by an elegant stand. One can put it on a table and art lovers have now started asking for similar products,” Bhat told The Kashmir Monitor.
Iliyas Rizvi, an oral historian committed to documenting Kashmir’s diverse crafts, explained that the journey to create the ‘Hand of Fatima’ took six months of dedication and creativity.
“Last winter, I initiated a project focusing on an essential symbol of Islamic art, the Hand of Fatima. In Kashmir, we have a similar symbol known locally as ‘Panja,’ prevalent in Alams, Tazias, Zuljanah and adorning homes and shrines,” said Rizvi, who is also a student of the Design Innovation Centre, Central University of Kashmir.
“I started working with master craftsman, Mohammad Aslam, and a traditional calligrapher, Mohammad Afzal, to design the first product. It took us six months, and then in Muharram this year, we launched it at the ‘Mashq e Arba’een’ Art Exhibition held recently at the Mahatta Art Gallery. This Hand of Fatima is different from the Panja we have in Kashmir. During the recent exhibition, most of the visitors wanted to know more about its history and significance in the craft world,” he told The Kashmir Monitor.
Rizvi emphasized their objective: to integrate internationally recognized Islamic arts symbols into traditional Kashmiri crafts.
“Our goal is to intertwine globally acclaimed Islamic arts symbols into our traditional Kashmiri crafts, fostering an exchange of ideas amongst our craftsmen. Through this, we aim to innovate and present our unique range of products to international markets, placing Kashmir firmly on the craft map of the world,” he said.