Balinese Traditional Repousse and Chasing Technique
The repousse and chasing technique are one of the ancient jewelry-making techniques; it has been around since 2500 BC. Repousse technique is the making of patterns on thin metal sheets by hitting it from the bottom and the top with blunt tools. In the beating process, the metal sheet is laid on soft gum resin so that the desired embossing pattern can arise.
Chasing is a metalwork technique used to define or refine the forms of surface design and to bring them to the height of relief required. The metal is worked from the front by hammering with various tools that raise, depress, or push aside the metal without removing any from the surface.
The repousse and chasing technique are very popular in Bali since the days of the kingdom, its called “tatahan” in Bali. This technique is widely used because it can produce beautiful ornament details using only very thin metal. In ancient times in Bali, it was challenging to get precious metals in large quantities. A limited circle exclusively owns valuable metals. Bali itself is not a metal producer; metals such as gold, silver, copper, and brass come from outside Bali. During the Dutch colonial era, jewelry artisans obtained raw materials for gold, silver, copper, and brass from Dutch coins or Chinese coins. The existence of Dutch coins or Chinese coins is very limited, only owned by certain groups such as the royal family or landlords and traders who have trade relations with the Dutch.
The advantage of The repousse and chasing technique is that it can produce wide or big jewelry with a few materials and in the lightweight. This advantage causes the technique widely used in Bali to make Balinese bridal accessories such as petitis, badong, gelang kana, gelang jagasatru, garuda ungkur, or used to make ceremonial tools such as bokor, canting, sangku or to decorate keris sarongs.
There are two types of “Tatahan” in Bali; they are “tapak sida” and “tapak ukiran.” “tapak sida” is repousse and chasing technique that is not too prominent; in contrast, tapak ukiran has more prominent relief and resembles its original shape in nature, or like a 3-dimensional carving. Many “Tatahan” motifs in Bali use carving ornament motifs or in Bali called “patra”. The “Patra” motif is usually a deformation of plants, animals, natural objects, or geometric patterns. There are various kinds of Patra in Bali, including Patra kakul, Patra samblung, Patra mas masan, Patra temesir, Patra cina, Patra punggel, and many others. Not only the patra is used as a “Tatahan” design, but even puppet figures or traditional Balinese folklore are also used as designs for “Tatahan” motifs.
This technique continues to thrive in Bali; there are several areas in Bali that are the center for the development of this technique, such as Celuk, Kamasan, Tembuku, and Taro. Besides being used to make traditional clothing accessories and ceremonial tools, the use of this “Tatahan” or repousse and chasing technique is also used to make home decor combined with shells and wood and is also used to make jewelry with contemporary or modern designs.
To find out more about this technique, please visit Sunsri-House of Jewelry, at the museum, you may see traditional Balinese clothing accessories and Balinese ceremonial tools made using the repousse and chasing technique. You can also join a factory tour where you can witness firsthand how the Balinese jewelry craftsmen are making jewelry using repousse and chasing techniques or using other jewelry making techniques. In our gallery, you will find a variety of beautiful jewelry, made with repousse and chasing techniques, or using other jewelry making techniques, which you can buy for gifts or beautify your look. Not only that, if you want to learn repousse and chasing techniques or to use other jewelry making techniques, you can join our jewelry making classes. In the class, you will be trained and supervised directly by our jewelry experts. At Sunsri, you will find all your jewelry needs under a single roof, so what are you waiting for? Come and visit Sunsri-house of jewelry, we will be delighted to welcome you. You can watch videos about making repousse bracelets and making Balinese traditional offering bowl on our YouTube channel, and please click this link to watch it.
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