Making the statues

One of the oldest and most common methods of metal statue making in Nepal is that of lost wax casting. This method is said to have been passed on by the Shakya clan, who learned it during trading trips to Tibet.

The lost wax casting procedure, or “lost mold” method, takes approximately 3 to 4 weeks to complete a single sculpture. So each artifact takes a lot of time and is worked by hand first in wax and then again in metal.

Only very experienced craftsmen are able to make these statues. First, an object is made from wax by bending and shaping the wax. Around it is molded clay, which is later, in several operations and layers fired in the sun to achieve high strength. Next, these pieces are heated until the wax inside melts.

Several such molds are now created and then they are poured with metal (casting) and slowly cooled. Now the clay is removed to reveal a metal blank, which is polished and finished to give it its subsequent shine.

Finally, the statues are finished with fine tools to elaborate details such as eyes, mouths, fingers and so on. Then, if necessary, a gold plating is applied and, depending on the artist’s wishes, precious stones and other small details are incorporated. Finally, the statues are finely wiped again, so that the unmistakable shine of these statues is created.