Desert Bells

Desert Bells

from 2.00

The Rann of Kutchch.

A salt desert in northern Gujerat on the west coast of India, that is desert for half the year, and is flooded for the other half. There are vast regions of scrubby tree growth and sparsely populated areas. The gypsy tribes who once grazed cattle here, and later settled in villages, still retain their traditional customs and wear their elaborately embroidered and decorated clothes as they go about their daily tasks.

Janmamad Luhar is a traditional bell-maker in this region. He practices a craft that was passed down to him through several generations. 

The bells all start out as at sheets of recycled steel. The steel is then beaten, shaped into cylinders and formed into bells, without any welding at the seams. The shaped bells are then dipped into a copper solution. Women make a dough out of clay to protect the copper-dipped bells during a complex firing process.

Kilns are formed in the desert sand, and the bells are fired. The steel and copper anneal to form bronze. After the firing, the protective clay is chipped away; then the tuning process begins.

Using age-old techniques and a mallet and an anvil, Janmamad tunes each bell to perfection. 

We carry these bells in ten different sizes.

These are the approximate heights of the bells:
Size 0 = 1.35″
Size 2 = 2.25″
Size 3 = 2.45″
Size 4 = 3"
Size 6 = 4″
Size 7 = 4.75″
Size 8 = 5.25″
Size 10 = 6.25″
Size 12 = 9″
Size 13 = 12″

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