Streetparade of the gods

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    Metal casting in the lost wax technic requires a lot of experience, each casted bronze being a unique piece of art.
    © Cornelia Mallebrein

  • Metal casting

    In the Dandakaranya region, figures, jewellery and everyday items are not made by members of the tribal societies but by professional metal casters from the caste of the ghadvas.

    Using the wax-thread technique, the caster first forms the basic shape of the figurine in clay. He then carefully wraps a network of thin threads of beeswax made with a moulding press around the clay core. Individual parts such as the arms, feet, jewellery and weapons are separately formed in wax and attached to the figurine. He then encases the entire figurine with a thick layer of clay, leaving an open sprue (casting channel).

    The materials used for casting are generally metals such as copper and zinc. The metal is heated to melting point in a fire which burns away the wax and the molten metal flows into the hollows left by the wax. Once it has cooled down the caster will smash the clay coating and engrave the figurine.

    Until Indian independence in 1947, the princely state of Bastar also included the present-day states of Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. In search of new clients, metal casters began to travel to neighbouring regions, where they used their artistic originality to express local religious attitudes towards the gods. Over the course of time this led to the evolution of unique local styles in metal art.

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