Thanjavur district is famous for various arts and crafts like 'Thanjavur dancing doll', 'Thanjavur paintings' and 'Thanjavur art plates'. Thanjavur Art plates are basically made with a combination of three metals. The metals like brass for the base plate and embossed copper and silver figures embedded on the same. The unique metal work of Thanjavur consists of several stages such as shaping, engraving, embossing and final finishing. Initially, the sheet is pressed with the moulding machine to attain a plate like shape. The plate is then gently beaten with hammer to obtain depth. Once it is beaten the metal plate is filled with burning charcoal and fixed on a wooden base over the lac. Due to heat generated by metal sheet, the lac melts and allows the plate to be fixed on it. The artisan now starts the engraving work on the plate by marking the design. The center part of plate is decorated by circular bowl-shaped beads which are made of copper and brass. Embossing work is done separately with thin copper and metal sheets. These sheets are placed over the moulds and gently beaten in to the grooves. Once the sheet takes the shape and design of mould, then it is filled with natural glue and melted. These designed silver and copper sheets are fixed on the brass metal sheet. The art plate is embellished in floral and Hindu mythological motifs. The plate is finally cleaned with a mixture made of tamarind, soapnut and coal powder to attain shine and lustre. After washing, the plate is kept for drying.
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