Metal Work

A small, select group of gifted Puri craftsmen also persevere with the traditional craft of making brass icons. Elsewhere in the state, in small places such as Behrampur and Belguntha (in Ganjam district), Tarva (Bolangir district), Chandanpur, Phulbani, and Kantilo are scattered some 15,000 families who specialise in producing a variety of brass and bell metal craft objects, which exhibit extraordinary craftsmanship. In Tarva, the craftsmen fashion beautiful utilitarian and decorative objects such as plates, ashtrays and bells out of white metal. About 230 tribal families produce prized dhokra metalware items-boxes, lamps, figures of deities-by the cire perdue or lost wax method.

The highly refined, delicate craft of tarkashi or silver filigree work is practised in Cuttack. Silver is beaten and drawn into fine wires and foils, which are then joined together to form articles-generally ornaments-of stirring beauty. The snow glazed filigree work or tarkashi of Cuttack was once sought after by royal households and merchants from far and wide.

Today, the tarkashi workers continue to uphold the traditions of outstanding workmanship, but the clientele has changed, resulting in a comparatively reduced, standardised variety of articles. Besides its famed tarkashi, Cuttack is also well known for its horn work. Buffalo and cow horns are used by skilled artisans toproduce tastefully designed ashtrays, jewellery, figures of birds and animals.