THONGJAO POTTERY BELL METAL WORK
The terracotta pottery of Production Clusters Lost wax casting of bell
Thongjao, like pitchers, metal done by the Meiteis
cooking vessels, plates, Imphal West
pot rings,lids, bowls and district:
significance borne by two
pots, made mostly by Heirangkhoithong facts: name of the cluster
women is distinctive in and the craftsmen`s surname
form, craftsmanship and Aheibam are derived from
the creative use of aheiba refering to moulding
reduction firing, Products or casting and leikei
rendering it a unique Chaisel - bowl meaning neighbourhood.
Ayiesel - embossed Meiteis make a wide range of bell metal vessels for ceremonial
The pottery is hand formed using slabbing and shaping bowl and domestic uses of which the bowl chaisel and shentak-
techniques done with a flat padding tool. Red and black shenga, a dish with a lid for offering betelnut and leaves to God,
Tengot - serving bowl
clay are mixed, kneaded, rolled into a wide slab, and made are distinctive in form. Clay models surounded by wax strands
into a cylindrical form and a circular slab forming the base Shentak - shenga - which are further enclosed in clay are kept ready for casting.
is joined to it. The neck and rim of the pot are shaped by ceremonial dish with They are filled with a molten alloy of copper and tin which
using the fingers and pressing with a wet cloth. A flat lid replace the cavity left by the melting of wax. The cast metal is
wooden beater is used to pat from the outside while the Manidla - cymbals finished on a lathe and polished by hand. Then they are
inner laer is supported with an oval shaped stone held decorated by the hand drill process for creating circular patterns,
firmly in the other hand. The surface is then burnished with Luknem shel - rice or by engraving a series of lines on the lathe or by hammering
measure and embossing on the surface. Bell metal ware or senjeng has an
a seed and the pots collectively baked in an open traditional
kiln. Korphu - cooking pot established market in Manipur.
Khujai - water pot
Plate Inset : Vessels and accessories for prayer rituals made in bell
Production Clusters Inset : The surface of the pot has
Shapa - stamp metal.
a texture imparted by using a flat
Imphal valley wooden beater with patters
Thoubal district: engraved on it. Only the neck of 1. Shentak - shenga, a ceremonial dish with a lid decorated
this pot is burnished. with leaf shaped motifs.
Thongjao Lathe, Hammer 2. Chaisel, ritual bell metal bowl which expresses the
Tongs, Files Manipuri snse of proportion and elegance in form.
1. The Thongjao potters have
Products 3. Ayiesel, bell metal bowl embossed with punched
a unique method of placing Chisel markings.
Storage pots some pots inside another
Vessles 4. Bell metal craftsman working on a lathe in his workshop in
pot at the time of firing. As
Cooking vessels Heirangkhoithong Aheibam Leikai.
a result, some pots do not Crucible
Ritual pots receive air ad he lack of Wax
Lamps oxygen makes the clay
Lids 2. Terracotta pot from
Pot rings Thongjao.
3. Hand formed terracotta pots
Storage Jars which have been burnished
and reduction fired.
Tools 4. A hand formed pot from
Phuzei - wooden Ukhrul district, which is
beater used for cooking meat and
Oval shaped stone
Mortar - pestle
Kang - cactus seed