, Volume 54, Issue 10, pp 12–16 | Cite as

The lost-wax casting of icons, utensils, bells, and other items in South India

  • R. M. Pillai
  • S. G. K. Pilhii
  • A. D. Damodaran
Feature Archaeotechnology


Indian artisans and craftsmen have long been masters at extracting and shaping metals and alloys, as proven by archaeological finds from the 2nd—3rd millennia B.C. For example, two well-known artifacts, castings of the dancing girl of Mohenjo Daro and the Mother Goddess of Adichanallur, Tamilnadu, depict a high degree of metallurgical knowledge. Those castings were formed by the lost wax process, which later was modified and became known as investment casting. In various parts of India, this age-old casting process is still being practiced, without any major modifications. This paper discusses details of the process used by the Indian artisans of Swamimalai, Tamilnadu, and Mannar, Kerala, South India in shaping copper-base alloys into icons and utensils, bells, and lamps.


Mold Icon Mold Cavity Jute Cloth Damascus Steel 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. Pillai
    • 1
  • S. G. K. Pilhii
    • 1
  • A. D. Damodaran
    • 1
  1. 1.Regional Research LaboratoryCouncil of Scientific & Industrial ResearchThiruvananthapuramIndia

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