The art of metal work is known to Indians for almost 5000 years from now. The beautiful image of the dancing girl from Mohanjodaro bears testimony o this fact. This indicates the high level of workmanship attained by ancient craftsmen. Traditionally, Indian craftsmen have been using different metals like iron, copper, silver and alloys like bronze, bell metal, white metal etc to produce items such as pots, pans, utensils, photo frames, sculptures of deities, mythological figures and animals.
The iron pillar at Mehrauli (Delhi), belonging to the Mauryan is a fine example of Indian craftsmen’s excellence. During the Chola period also the art of metalworking reached great heights. The Chola craftsmen were past masters at making bronze sculptures. Sculptures are usually made with the lost wax technique. In this process a wax model of the sculpture or any item is created. This model is then covered with clay and holes are made into the clay. Finally molten metal is poured through the hole at the top, causing the wax to melt. The cavity created within is automatically replaced by the hot metal. The metal is allowed to cool and the final product is freed from clay and polished.