Metal Work

Orissa metal works display the rich artistic caliber and imaginative skills of the local craftsmen of the region. A small, select group of gifted Puri craftsmen also persevere with the traditional craft of making brass icons. Elsewhere in the state, in small places such as Behrampur and Belguntha (in Ganjam district), Tarva (Bolangir district), Chandanpur, Phulbani, and Kantilo are scattered some 15,000 families who specialise in producing a variety of brass and bell metal craft objects, which exhibit extraordinary craftsmanship. In Tarva, the craftsmen fashion beautiful utilitarian and decorative objects such as plates, ashtrays and bells out of white metal. About 230 tribal families produce prized dhokra metalware items-boxes, lamps, figures of deities-by the cire perdue or lost wax method. Silver Filigree is another form of metal work that is widely practiced among the local artisans of Orissa. The craftsman specializes in carving out beautiful and elegant design patterns on metal wares to make them look attractive. The highly refined, delicate craft of tarkashi or silver filigree work is practised in Cuttack. The snow glazed filigree work or tarkashi of Cuttack was once sought after by royal households and merchants from far and wide. The tribal families in Sadeiberini, a village near Dhenkanal town produce this unusual craft familiar in items like boxes, gods, goddesses and lamps. And lampstands, the last being made in several intricate designs in shape of trees and branches with as many as a hundred lamps in one stand. Today, the tarkashi workers continue to uphold the traditions of outstanding workmanship, but the clientele has changed, resulting in a comparatively reduced, standardised variety of articles.

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