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Paper Mache - The Heritage Artifacts

Paper Mache

The skilled artisans involved in this ancient art form are called 'sakhta' makers. Materials used in the process are discarded paper, cloth, straw of rice plant, copper sulphate, all mixed together. After immersing in water for 4–5 weeks, they are taken out and made into a pulp. It is then applied on moulds made of wood or brass or clay. At the wet stage of application, the layers are covered with a muslin cloth overlaid with another layer of material similar to plaster of Paris, locally known as 'gutchi'.

Once dried, the artwork is detached from the mould and the surface is polished till all irregularities and edges become smooth. Then gold and silver foils are used with a paste of chalk and glue mixture, which is applied to the exterior and interior surfaces of the object. After drying, the surfaces are again polished and then painted with floral designs in bright colors mixed with adhesive. The final art is dried and given a varnish coat made of amber, locally called 'kahruba'.

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