Tikamgarh - The quintessential bell metal craft
Tikamgarh is a town situated around 85 kms from Chanderi which is famous for its weaving culture.The bell metal casting in Madhya Pradesh’s Tikamgarh has been practiced for over three centuries. The craftsmanship initially catered to kings and soldiers for war weapons. Today, all kind of decorative items are crafted here for every need and desire.
The process of metal casting used in Tikamgarh is very similar to the Dhokra art in Betul, as both the crafts take shape with lost wax casting, a common material used to cast object is metal. But while the Betul’s Dhokra is created with thin strings of wax, in bell metal craft of Tikamgarh, the metal pieces are sculpted in the usual way and moulds are created to produce the objects.
A mixture of industrial wax, groundnut oil and a binding resin is heated and used as the modeling material. In case of larger articles, a clay base is made, over which this wax mixture is coated and given the final shape. Craftsmen have created indigenous tools to do customised designs and fine carvings.
Once the wax hardens, it is covered in layers of different soil pastes and this mud covered wax object is baked in a furnace. After the baked piece is cooled, it is broken and given acid treatment for an antique finish. With this, we get to witness the finished art piece which replicates the fine craftsmanship of an artist.
The craft that once pleased the kings now caters to the global audience with its exceptional workmanship in brass and copper. Craftsmen make toys, figures of animals, gods, and lamps which are sold in local as well as international markets. The craft not only radiates the creativity of the artists but also tells so much about the state with stories that are infused in every masterpiece.