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Bronze Casting of Karnataka

Metal

Bronze Casting of Karnataka

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Bronze and bell metal casting of Udupi in Karnataka is renowned far and wide. The age-old process of cire perdue of lost wax is employed to create striking objects out of metal. Udupi is a rich source of tin and copper and thus a significant centre for artisans to produce varied utilitarian and religious objects that are rooted in regional identity.  Karkala which is one of the oldest centers of Jainism is famous for its metalware icons. Bronze casting is a seasonal occupation for the craftsmen whose main activity is agriculture. Ritual objects such as lamp for worship, aarti, bells, pot/kalasha, ginde etc. besides the south Indian bronzes such as deities are cast in the Chola and Hoysala style. Another example of meticulous craftsmanship is the Bhoota figures that can be found in the form of metal masks and cast idols. These include the likes of Mahisasura or the bull demon and bhoota attendant figures. Being of Shaivite origin, Sun and moon are a part of its iconographical vocabulary. Similar to the embellishment carried out on the Yakshagna mask, beaded rope work and gold tassels are apparent features of details. 

The festival months of March to May observe the participation of craftsmen in the village of Katapadi in bell metal casting/kanchukelasa. Other items cast in bronze are bowls, utensils, pots, kalashas, Udipi Krishna etc. Agriculture being the main occupation of the craftsmen, these objects are sold seasonally during local festivals. 

Tools such as blower, box moulds, clay crucible, emery paper, tongs, chisels, furnace, buffing machine etc. are used for the crafting purpose. 

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