SEMARAPURA, BALIPOST.com – BUDAGA village, Klungkung, is known as a manufacturer of various types of ritual paraphernalia made of brass. Installation of signboard of craftsmen can be encountered at every corner of the alley at local residence. Of the many types of brass products, the ritual paraphernalia in the form of holy bell is in the highest demand.
One of the brass craftsmen, Ketut Suparta Wijaya, stated on Tuesday (May 28) that brass raw material can be made into various ritual paraphernalia. Apart from holy bells, there are also nawa sanga (gods in the nine points of the compass) weapons, tools of Brahmin priest as well as ordinary prayer tools. The market response in Bali is actually quite high. Some consumers buy directly to craftsmen in retail, while some resellers buy the product in bulk to be sold again to a number of markets in Denpasar, Gianyar, and even Singaraja.
“We have been a holy bell craftsman from generation to generation,” said Ketut Suparta, accompanied by his mother Wayan Supraptinadi and his wife Putu Puspita Dewi, naming his business Ratna Sarin Sekar Tunjung.
Southeastern part of his house is used as a material processing location starting from preparing materials, molding process to finishing. There used to be several employees. However, today only three of them still work with him. Supraptinadi admitted that later it was quite difficult to find workers whereas the market demand is actually quite high.
To make a good holy bell, from the molding process to finishing can take approximately two weeks. If just molding, he can produce 50 pieces of unfinished product a day. However, to process it to completion, the amount is recognized as uncertain. Maybe he can only make one to five bells. In the manufacturing process, the longest process is to make the handle part as having full of engraving.
To make the handle, first of all he must prepare wax carved in accordance with the original bell product. Then, the wax is wrapped in the first red soil and the second layer. After that, it must be dried out under the sun and the wax can be released out. Thus, the red soil is molded from inside part according to the design of the carved strokes. Furthermore, the soil having been shaped as carvings according to the wax is poured with brass liquid. After hardening, the soil is then removed and the brass is hardened in accordance with the initial design of the wax mockup. Next, it just needs refining.
One bell having a good sound can be sold for IDR 400,000. If the buyer is a temple priest, the price can be said to be more expensive because he can and has the opportunity to choose the bell he prefers. There is also an uter bell sold for IDR 200,000 and Brahmin priest equipment, such as holy water scoop, yellow rice container, incense burner to perforated coins equally made from brass.
The craftsmen produce brass handicrafts quite smoothly, but the price competition makes them quite nervous. Too extreme price competition makes the business unfair. Nevertheless, his side is still trying to maintain the quality of good reputation of Budaga as the center for brass craft products. Thus, consumers are not disrupted. (Bagiarta/balipost)