Tribal Metal-Work: Casting Process

in Image Gallery
Published on: 21 December 2017

Mushtak Khan

Mushtak Khan is Consultant and Research Coordinator with Sahapedia. He has served as Deputy Director (Design and Documentation), Crafts Museum, New Delhi, for more than 20 years. Associated with organisations and institutions such as Lalit Kala Akademi, Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited, National Council of Educational Research and Training, and International Research Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in Asia-Pacific Region (Japan) in various capacities, he has undertaken extensive fieldwork and documentation of tribal and folk arts of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Odisha and published more than 200 articles on the subject.

Tribal metal-work is prepared using the lost-wax method. This is an elaborate procedure of metal-casting involving several steps and raw materials. A wax model of the desired figurine or statue is made and covered with clay. The clay hardens to create a thick shell. Molten brass is poured on this clay-covered wax model. This melts the wax, which escapes from holes made in the clay covering. The clay is then broken and a metal figurine emerges. The artist then chisels the finer details on the figurine. For making hollow objects, an additional step is the process of creating a clay core which is placed inside the wax model. As the metal melts the wax, the clay core remains intact. This can later be extracted to create a hollow inside.