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Worldview of Viswakarmas

Initiated in the year 2013, The IGNCA project “Worldview of Viswakarmas” covers the five groups of artisan communities in India - ironsmiths, carpenters, coppersmiths, sculptors and goldsmiths who trace their lineage to the divine architect, Lord Viswakarma. While the role of artisans in shaping the art and craft heritage of India is enormous, holistic studies linking the community, cosmology, social structure, and arts and crafts production in both traditional and modern contexts are rare. The project aims to conduct comprehensive study of the Viswakarma worldview through multi-disciplinary and holistic methodologies.

The project has the following modules for enquiry:

(a) Study of origin myths and Viswakarma cosmology
(b) Oral traditions
(c) Conception of work, tools and workshops
(d) Viswakarmas and Metallurgy traditions
(e) Physical Habitat and Environment
(f) Life Cycle Events
(g) Rituals and festivals
(h) Arts and Crafts
(i) Iconography
(J) Lexicon of terms used in the occupational, ritualistic and every-day life specific to the Viswakarmas.

Under this program the following work has been undertaken:

  • A consultative meeting of experts was organised on 29th November, 2013 to identify the thrust areas.

  • Eminent art historian, Prof. R.N. Mishra delivered lecture on “Artists in ancient and Medieval India on 22nd July 2015

  • Anthropologist Prof. Dr. Jan Brouwer donated his personal archives on the Viswakarmas in Karnataka to SRC Bangalore on 27th August 2016

On-going Research Project in collaboration with NIAS, Bengaluru

This ongoing project aims to document the living traditions of the metalworking communities of the Viswakarmas within the context of their history and evolution in parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The Principal investigator of the project is Prof. Sharada Srinivasan. The aim is to record the nuances of the craft and science of traditional metallurgy while focusing on the two metals of copper and iron and their alloys and trace out the associated beliefs, rituals and worldview of the concerned community and their contribution to the larger cultural milieu.


The Visvakarma worldview by Jan Brouwer

(Ref. Book published by IGNCA - Primal Elements: The Oral Tradition under Prakrti Series


Workshop on Worldview of Viswakarmas (29th November 2013)




Dr. Sreekala Sivasankaran (Project Director)
Associate Professor
Janapada sampada Division
Phone: 011-23388056

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