Metal craft is perhaps the single most important craft in terms of the number of the artisans engaged in its practice. The livelihood of many people in the state depends on this craft. The craft is practiced by the people of the “Kansari” caste who are the metal smiths in the state while another variety , “Dhokra” is practiced mainly by “Sithulias”. The “Kantilo” and “Balakati” in Puri have the largest concentration although fairly substantial numbers are found in Cuttak, Ganjam and Sambalpur districts.
The socio-cultural ties Bell Metal Craft are very well built:
• The socio cultural ties of this handicraft are very strong.According to the tradition of Orissa the bride is presented with items of brass and bell metal as per the status of the family permits.
• While in the villages these are extensively used for eating and cooking. In most orthodox families these are installed as deities in homes placed on a brass platform called ‘Khatuli’. and is also used in some temples. for presiding deities.
• In almost all major temples the moving image or the ‘ChalantiPratima’ of the presiding deities are brass icons.
• Similarly the use of ‘ghanta’ or ‘ghanti’ are both important and indispensible for all kind of worshipping.
• Hundreds of gongs are beaten and used even during the ‘RathYatra’ in Puri.
• The ‘Manjiras’ are two cupped convex discs tied with strings together are also the products of this group of craft.
• ‘Ghantis’ made of bell metal are put around the neck of the cattle in the Rural Orissa.
Tools and Materials
• Hammer & Wooden Mallet: these are used while engraving and embossing
• Polani: This iron tool has a circular head and is used in engraving.
• Chisel: Used for engraving
• Dyes/ Punches: Used for engraving different shapes of different sizes.
• ShaamDaam: This is aheavy iron tool used as a base or support for the metal plate while hammering.
1. The artisans share a light moment together during the course of work.
2. The work environment of the artisans can be seen in the background.
3. A lady looks on while working on the traditional machinery in Orissa.
4. The artisans together hammer a small piece of metal shaping them as they desire.
5. The hammer is used to get rid of the sharp edges in a product or to shape the product according to one’s own will.
6. The file is used to scrap the extra material to smoothen the surface texture.
7. The various kinds of clasps, hammers, chisels and all other tools used in the preparation of the brass metal products.