The famous brass and copper metalware has a rich and ancient tradition in Tamil Nadu. These metal objects are used for both religious and secular purposes, though utility is a primary consideration. The deepam or lamp are regarded as a symbol of Agni, which is auspicious and is the best known of the States metalware. There is a good variety of lamps that includes standing lamps, aarathi (votive lamps), deepalakshmis, hand lamps and chain lamps. Patterned trays and shallow dishes in circular, hexagonal, octagonal and oval shapes are widely used in Tamil Nadu and are made out of bronze or sheet brass.The popular Thanjavur plates feature designs of deities, birds, flowers, and geometric patterns beaten out from the back of copper and silver sheets and subsequently encrusted on a brass tray, kudam or panchpaathra.Metal toys include models of horses, cows or elephants are made chiefly of brass. A whole range of attractively polished and finished utensils of utilitarian value are also made.The most famous of Tamil Nadus art forms is probably its bronzes artistic excellence developed over the centuries, placing them among the greatest triumphs of Indian art.