- Bell metal wares :The most famous bronze craft in
India is the ancient statue of Nataraja (Lord Siva in dancing posture).
But in Kerala bronze (bell metal or gun metal) popularly known as
Odu is used for making small and big vessels, lamps etc. Huge wick
lamps in different sizes and shapes like the Nilavilakku , Thookkuvilakku
- hanging lamp, etc are widely used in each and every house.
The Valkannadi (literally tailed mirror) is representative
of Lakshmi - the goddess of prosperity. Other pooja articles like
the Kindi (water container of a particular shape with a sprouting
nozzle), Uruli (wide shallow cooking vessel), Thattu (plates), etc
are exquisitely crafted in bronze. Most of these are now only available
in curio shops as collectors items. The originals are pretty expensive.
The Malayalee kitchen once almost fully occupied with odu ware are
now replaced by stainless steel, aluminium, ceramic and glass ware.
But even today for rituals and religious occasions
'Odu' wares are still used. A variety of bronze (Vellodu) is often
used for making the uruli and it has more alloy content of lead.
The odu is cast mostly in northern Kerala. Places
like Payyannur and Kunhimangalam in Kannur, Irinjalakuda in Thrissur,
Pallippuram in Palakkad - are all in the northern regions and towards
south Aranmula and Mannar in Alappuzha district have several bronze