Brass and Bell Metal Crafts of Odisha
Brass & Bell Metal Crafts of Odisha
From antiquated time, the craftsmen of Odisha knew the logical course of setting up an amalgam of copper and tin ( roughly in the ratio 4:1) known as high quality bell-metal.The day to day utility bell metal utensils of Odisha are just artistic wonders . It is a custom in every household of Odisha to give a few utility utensils of bell-metal during their daughter’s marriage. These utensils are additionally considered as resources of a family. Utensils of different sizes and various designs cover a wide range of articles people use in everyday life.
Brass (alloy of copper and zinc) and Bell Metal Craft is prepared by the skilled craftsmen of ‘Kansari’ community while the Dhokra craft is basically rehearsed by craftsmen belonging to ‘Sithulias’ community .But the nomenclature ‘Kansari’ likewise has various names in different places of Odisha. For example, in certain areas like Puri, Cuttack and Balasore, the craftsmen occupied with Brass and Bell metal work are famously known as the ‘Kansari’, while in the regions like Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Kendujhar and the abutting domains of Cuttack locale, they are prominently known as the ‘Thattaries‘. At first the ‘Kansari’ people were residing at Kanyakubja or Kanauj, on the bank of Ganga. It was anyway the city of Harsha-Vardhana, the last autonomous Hindu king in antiquated India. He had a place with the well known Pushyabhuti dynasty. However, in the later stage, the ‘ Kansaris’ had hailed from the Ganges to Srikshetra,Puri, at the greeting of Gajapati Kapilendra Dev(of the Suryavamsi dynasty). The primary reason for the ruler to welcome the Kansari people was to produce the Brass and Bell metal utensils, brass bands and trumpets etc required for the worship of Lord Jagannath and smooth conduct of different other ceremonies round the year in the Jagannath temple. Later the Kansaris, at first spread to Kantilo and thereafter to different parts of Odisha.
The craftsmen generally follow the conventional course of warming and beating and furthermore adopting the lost wax process. The craftsmen follow particularly two different procedures of creating these artistic wonders – one via casting in moulds and the second by steady beating to get the necessary size and shapes.
Their workplace is called ‘sala’ or shed and comprises a stage with a square stone on the floor on which the beating is done, a warming heater or bhati, a raised verandah with a machine for cleaning. Apparatuses utilized are mallets and iron blocks, pliers, hand drills and scrubbers. The warming heater with a cauldron is fanned by a blower with cowhide roars in spite of the fact that of late the skilled workers have begun utilizing mechanical blowers.
Flexible Brass Fish of Belguntha,Ganjam, Odisha,
The item range incorporates cooking utensils like plates, bowls, glass tumblers, gong bells,small chimes , lamp stands and so forth . Of late, a portion of the things are being painted to give a bright look which are sought after for wedding functions. One of the remarkable and average things is the Flexible Brass Fish of Belaguntha of Ganjam. Significant spots for this craft are Kantilo(Nayagarh), Bhuban(Dhenkal), Balakati(near Bhubaneswar), Bhatimunda(Cuttack), Belaguntha(Ganjam), Remuna(Balasore), Tarabha(Balangir) and so on.
silver plating has been done on brass idols
Even today, the preparation procedure which was followed ( Shilpa Texts) to make these brass and bell metal crafts a couple of centuries back is found engraved in a few old palm leaf manuscripts being displayed in the state museum at Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
Dr. Manoj Mishra