Sri Lankan Fabulous Brass Art Work of Kandy
Kandy is famous for quality artistic brasswork in Sri Lanka. Experts in traditional brasswork live in Daulagala, Handessa, Pamunuwa, and Pilimatalawa areas in Kandy. They use wrought and cast techniques to produce different types of brass items. Bowls, tea sets, decorative items and ornaments are made especially by the wrought technique.
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Brass castings are done using clay moulds. First the model of the item to be casted is made using wax. Later, this wax model is covered with clay and the whole thing is baked so that the wax model inside the clay cover melts out leaving the clay cover as the mould. Then molten brass is poured into the clay mould to produce the item. This item is decorated and polished before sending to showrooms.
Items like ceremonial oil-lamps, decorated bowls, candle-stands, elephants, and Buddha statues are made using the casting technique.
Metal cutwork is another technique widely used in Kandyan brasswork to produce trays and wall plaques. In cutwork technique the design is cut deeply into a sheet of brass using various chisels and later the formed design is refined by embellishing and polishing. A method of embellishing designs on brass is to hammer the reverse of the design on a brass sheet using a blunt chisel-like tool to make it appear embossed on the other side. This is called the Repousse method. Sometimes, parts of the design on brass sheet will be oxidized to give a darker colour that will enhance the work of art.
The traditional Kandyan craftsmen decorate their brass works of art with elegant local motifs using hand tools. These are truly the icons of rich artistic heritage of Sri Lanka.