Let’s take you back 4000 years to an ancient non-ferrous metal-casting technique -Dhokra. Dhokra or Dokra craft as it is popularly known is easily one of the earliest and most advanced methods of metal casting known to human civilization. This ancient folk art tradition is native to the metal-rich states of Eastern India, primarily, Chhattisgarh, Bengal, Orissa. Its earliest known artefact is the dancing girl of Mohenjodaro. The name Dokra comes from the Dokra nomadic tribes, the metal-workers of Bastar, Chhattisgarh. Distant cousins of this tribe also reside in areas of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Orissa. Today, Dokra art is admired all over the world for its primeval simplicity and enchanting folk motifs.
The process of making Dokra is fascinating and uses only natural raw materials. The basic mold is made with fine sand (mostly found next to the river banks) and clay. Goat and cow dung or husk is added to the principal material then layered with pure beeswax found in the jungle where the craftsmen reside. Wax threads are then prepared and wound around the clay mold until its entire surface is covered uniformly. After this, decorative aspects are added. The clay is then cooked over a furnace where the wax comes out from the drain ducts. The furnace is built above ground with bricks and natural fuel (charcoal, cow dung or coal). The wax burns in the furnace leaving a free channel for the metal to flow. Molten metal (mainly brass and bronze) is poured inside the mold. The molds are taken out after the metal has melted, and half-an-hour later, water is sprinkled to cool them. They are then broken and the cast figures are removed. The portions are retouched and are meticulously scoured at the river with clean sand to give the products a soft polished look. Normally, a simple figurine could take anywhere between over fifteen to thirty days to make. Most Dhokra artefacts are human or animal figurines. The exquisite carvings and the intricate designs in the metals not only make them look like a collector’s item but also shows the artistry and handwork of the artisans who make this unique pieces of art.
We are so proud to have met a national award winning Dokra artisan in West Bengal who has crafted most of our stunning and unique pieces of Dhokra Jewellery now available on our website.
Image: A Dokra Village in Bankura, West Bengal. Our artisan.
The rusty look in Arteastri Dhokra jewellery is what adds beauty and charm to each piece. Our Dhokra Jewellery always stands out among all other ornaments and is a unique gift that also makes for a perfect present. Head over to Arteastri’s Dhokra jewellery collection page to find handmade tribal jewellery that warms your soul. We guarantee that you will find many!
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