Tumba Craft (Bottle Guard Craft)

Tumba is a craft made out of a gourd, which is very popular in Chattisgarh India. In fact, “tumba” means ‘bottle guard’ in the Bustan/Halbi tribal languages in Chattisgarh. The origin of tumba craft lies in the widespread use of hollow gourd shells as containers by the tribals to store water and salfi. Soon they began decorating these vessels and tumba came into being.The gourd material is locally known as lauki. To make an object, the artisan must dry the gourd in the sun for as long as six months after the insides of the gourd are taken out.

How to dry a gourd – The best way in how to dry a gourd is to place it somewhere dry and cool. Swab the outside of the gourds with a 10% bleach solution. This will help prevent rot. Then hang the gourd up somewhere cool, dry and well ventilated. You can either attach a string to the stem or you can place the gourd inside a piece of panty hose and hang the gourd in the hose. Check the gourd once a month till dry. When the gourd feels light and sounds hollow when tapped, it will be dry. This will take from 6 months to 2 years.

How to clean a dried gourd – Soak the gourds in a 10% bleach solution water for about 15 minutes. Then remove the gourds and use a scrubby pad to remove the soft outer layer of the gourds. When clean, allow it to dry again.

How to clean the inside of the gourd water canteens – The inside of the gourd will be full of seeds and soft fibrous material. Use a long curved wand of some kind to break up this material and pull it out of the gourd. A metal coat hanger works well. This task may take some time. Once the gourd is relatively cleaned out, put a handful of sharp stones into the gourd and shake it around to loosen addition material.

How to seal the gourd water canteens – Melt beeswax and pour it into the water canteens. Swirl the beeswax around until the entire inside of the gourd is coated.

In order to decorate the surface of the gourd, the artisan uses an iron blade. The iron blade leaves black markings on the surface of the gourd. Finally, the gourd is varnished and is ready to be sold and added to your home.

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