Patara is a traditional large chest used to hold the trousseau of a bride. These boxes are not only utility pieces but also a fine example of the craftsmanship of Gujarat. They are an art collector’s delight.
A Patara is made of teak wood. It contains at least 8 drawers. The box is strengthened by a covering of thick black metal pieces called ‘kala patara.’ The box is decorated with thin pieces of white metal, called ‘safed patara,’ cut in square or rectangular pieces. These pieces are embossed on the wood using dies or dents made by pointed tools. The staples and hinges for the lid and the handles are made of iron rods. The edges of the box are lined with brass strips. Molded brass stoppers are fixed on the lid and covered with thin white iron sheets.
It is a tradition among the women belonging to the Saurashtra region of Gujarat to carry these boxes to their husband’s home after marriage.