The top brass

There are many,who discover their passion and make a profession out of it. But there are very few who discover their passion in their profession itself.

Written by Garima Mishra | Published: January 19, 2009 12:59 am

With as many as 400 rare metal sculptures,Mangilal Hiranchand Nagori’s house is no less than an informal museum for art-lovers

There are many,who discover their passion and make a profession out of it. But there are very few who discover their passion in their profession itself. Mangilal Hirachand Nagori is one amongst them. 73-year-old Nagori,is in the prized possession of more than 400 brass antique pieces,which he claims are more than 100-150 year old.

It all started,when at a very young age Nagori joined his father in managing their ancestral business of buying non-ferrous metal scrap. Fascinated by tiny brass items especially in the shape of animals,he insisted on keeping the ones he was fond of instead of selling them again in the metal market. Every time he came across something different,he used to preserve it to add to his collection. Gradually the accumulation started growing and today he is a proud owner of more than 400 such rare pieces.

Every single piece is different in design and pattern. Whether it’s an ink-pot,lock,squirrel shaped brush (vajani),a horse made with thin brass wires,a peacock,a cutter or any other piece. One look at the collection and you are left wondering how a normal plain metal can be converted artistically into such beautiful shapes? Says Nagori,”Here each and every piece is unique in its own way and speaks volumes of the talent and skill of the Indian artisans of the olden days. A lot of people have contacted me who can fetch me a good amount if I am ready to export such items. But I believe these articles created by Indians should stay in India only.”

Nagori’s house has become an informal museum for many art lovers who frequently visit his house either to click pictures,have information or with an offer of buying the collection. Even if the collection is sold at the rate of normal brass metal,that is,Rs 150-175 per kg,Nagori can easily make more than Rs 4 lakhs. But for Nagori they are too precious and mean more than money to him. On his future plans he says,”Now I think I have a fair collection to hold an exhibition. I am thinking of displaying these items in a city exhibition.”

It’s not just the antiques that interest Nagori. He is also fond of visiting temples and collecting religious books. So far Nagori has visited 1,000 villages and 1,500 temples. He has even maintained all the records of the places and temples he has visited – whether it’s the name of the temple,the date when he visited,ticket of the train,bus or vehicle he hired,photos clicked or even the donation receipt he received – everything is intact with him. He has a collection of over 300 books on holy places and 5,000 books on Jain religion. In a year,Nagori travels for two months and visits religious places.

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