In Nepal, making metal images is a very old art. Nepal has been blessed with the magnificent metal artisans from ages. Metal craft products include metal images of popular god and goddesses of Hinduism and Buddhism and utilitarian utensils. These products are mostly produced by household units clustered around the city of Lalitpur (Patan) and the district of Bhojpur in east Nepal.
These are produced with the lost wax method of casting. This method of casting is done by preparing a wax model, covering it with varieties of clay, heating the piece so that the wax is melted , extract the liquid wax so that cavity is created , pouring metal into the cavity , cool it and the original model is translated into the metal image. The metal image out of the casting is very rough. Rough image is then made smooth chiseling is done to bring precision. The metal statue is then painted as per the specifications of religion or as per the request of the client. This complicated job requires an artist's conception, proper technology, an engineer's perfection and the skillful hands of a craftsman.
The art and skill is transferred from generation to generation and artisans follow the age – old designs and production technology. Today items like paper knife, spoon and forks with traditional designs are added to the range. Sculpting metal is a lengthy procedure that requires great skill. A large piece of art can take up to six months to create and several people need to work on it.
The main workshops of Fabulous Handicraft Center are at Okubahal, the old metal working area of Patan. They turn out the most exquisite copper statues, some of which take up to three years to complete. In the time – honored fashion, three craftspeople work on each piece, no matter how small – one to model the wax, cover it with clay and finally to pour the molten copper into the clay mould, another to etch details and finally a person to paint the face and body.
Tools and utensils of metal like water pots, cooking pots, plates, door locks, bowls, etc. are made of copper, bronze, brass, aluminum alloy metals and iron.
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