Brass & Metal Casting of Tamil Nadu

Nachiarkoil in Thanjavur is a famous cemtre for metal-casting primarily because of the rich source of sand found on the banks of the Kavery River which is excellent for moulding. A large variety of products are cast in Tamil Nadu using either the solid or hollow method of casting. The artisans here are called Pathers who cast articles such as vases, tumblers, water containers, ornamented spittoons, food cases, bells, candle stands, kerosene lamps, picnic carriers and a large variety of lamps. The other metals used in Tamil Nadu include brass, copper, bronze, bell metal, silver and gold and include items such as lamps, chembus/containers for ritual water, bowls and bells, special utensils, paperweights, menu stands and ashtrays. Cooking utensils are mainly made in brass and water-pots are usually in copper, because of its medicinal properties. Containers for pan (betel leaf chewing is a popular pastime in Tamil Nadu) are usually made of bronze or sheet brass, are decorated creatively and compartmentalized.

Household vessel casting in brass is done over a solid clay model on a hand-lathe with a layer of prepared wax which is covered with a thick layer of clay. A hole is made through which the molten wax is removed to be replaced by molten metal. Bell metal is also used especially to make a special container with a cashew-nut design.