Promotion of Traditional Crafts

 

KANSA or BELL METAL

In Odiya Bell-Metal is known as Kansa. The craftsmen were called 'Kansari'. Kansa is a type of Bronze with a higher tin: copper ratio. Kansa does not tarnish like copper or brass. The Kansa when struck generates a ringing tone for several seconds. That's why it is called Bell Metal in English. It is used to make Ghantis,(prayer bells), Ghantas (Call to prayer bell), and Kartals (hand cymbals) that are struck during kirtans. Kansa is a good conductor of heat and retains heat well. The inside surface is hand-coated with tin (Kalai). It was used to make Degchis (the most common cookware), and Paraat (to knead dough for making bread). 

Bell-metal is most attractive with its soft surface and golden tint. A very ancient metal, it is costlier and requires great skill on the part of the craftsman as each object is shaped by hammering the hot metal lump into delicate and beautiful forms. The inside is then polished to give it a golden glow, the outside is often left dark. Bell- metal plates, tumblers and bowls never tarnish or react to weak acids like citrus fruit and are longer lasting than steel. The rich golden colour improves with age and food stored in it remains fresh and hygienic for a long time. Ayurveda recommends serving and eating in Kansa.  A unique feature of Bell-metal products from Kantilo is that right from the making of the alloy to the finished product; everything is done under one roof by a group of three or four craftsmen.

 

This process of manufacture and the items derived from it date back to the Charaka Sanhita written around 400 A.D. Through the ages, the craft persons of  Kantilo specialized in manufacturing utensils using the formula of Charaka, a famous Ayurvedic scientist who determined the proportion of copper and tin to be mixed to produce the alloy. In Odisha, metal crafts were patronised and encouraged by kings during the 11th century for decorative use in their palaces, temples and in social rituals.

Kansa  and Kantilo

Prices

Thali 2100/-   Large serving dish 2100/-  Medium  serving dish 1900/-   Small serving dish 1800/-   Katori 450/-

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