Cambodian silversmith: craftsman with invaluable knowledge

Silversmith, the praise of ancestral knowledge

“Orfèvre en la matière”, “travail d'orfèvre”... so many french expressions that reflect the precision of the silversmith .... with the same attention to detail, the silversmith of Cambodia manufactures metal objects, like jewelry boxes , bowls of ceremonies .... with a virtuosity and a knowledge which are worth to him its reputation in all the Southeast Asia.

This craftsman specialized in metal work handles gold, silver and copper to perfection. After cutting and giving a shape to metal plates, the craftsman built the various elements by welding. Then begins for the silversmith the work of stamping, carving, even engraving to decorate the created object.

The silversmiths of Cambodia, heirs of a long tradition from the eleventh century excel in the techniques of carving and hammering creating real pieces of art.

Cambodia: the discovery of the silversmith craftsmen village

After few hours of roaming around Cambodia, we can hear a constant tok pok, tok pok… sound coming from the pounding hammer on silver, specific noise coming from the metal shaping the metal everywhere all around us… Finally we have reached the silversmith craftsmen village !

What a wonder to discover these precious objects everywhere all around us. The craftsmen are busy working under the sky in a open space which is the extension of the family home. In fact silversmithing is first and foremost a family business. A knowledge passed on from generation to generation. Here the grandmother takes care of the little ones while parents, uncles and aunts fashion these works of art under the intrigued gaze of the last generations.

A fascinating knowledge, a beautiful heritage of Cambodia

All the items are stamped then hand carved in copper by the silversmiths. Hours and hours of shaping not to mention the accuracy and the technical mastery of procedures means a massive work. The beauty of these chiseled designs is unmatched, I’m looking at true masterpieces.

 Some of these objects are offering bowls, ritual objects used during religious ceremonies in Cambodia. Others are beautiful boxes that were once used to store betel nuts, opium or traditional medicines

The copper handicrafts are then silver plated with a surprisingly technique, traditionally and mainly used by mirror-makers.  Another discovery…