Dokra Craft - Dhokra Art of Bengal Unveiled For You
Author: Nantaram Orubenga
Dokra craft is tribal in origin - this is perhaps something that we are already extremely familiar with. Dokra craft is supposed to be cast in metal using the lost wax technique or cire perdue as it is popularly known in France. However there is something individualistic about Dokra craft.
Although Dokra figures and figurines are cast on metals like brass, bell metal etc, there is a hidden layer of clay core concealed within the mold. The most unique characteristic of Dokra craft is that you will never find two similar pieces of Dhokra art for each and every single piece is unique.
You will find Dokra/Dhokra castings in religious figures, tribal folklore symbols, religious figures and figurines, chains, lamps, lamp holders, religious animals etc.
Dhokra metal craft which basically has a tribal origin is abundantly found in the tribal pockets of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Vindhya hills and in Bengal. In Bengal, you will find the Dokra kamars or metal smiths settled in the tribal belts of Midnapore, Bankura, Birbhum, Purulia and Burdwan.
In Chhattisgarh, the Dokra artisans are settled in the districts of Bastar and Raigarh. The Dokra artists of Bastar can be distinguished by their use of coiled thread technique, not seen in any other Dokra settlement or Dokra figurines. The two places famed for being Dokra manufacturing units are Ushegaon and Chittalbori in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh. The Dokra figurines of this region are characterized by uniqueness and individuality.
This individualistic touch is due to the hand crafted dexterity and skill that these Dokra artifacts boast of. However, although metal casting is used in Dokra craft, they are different from other types of metal craft. Although it is mostly brass scrap and bell metal that are used to manufacture Dokra craft, there remains a hollow core inside the metal casting consisting of a clay core.
It is a matter of grave concern that in spite of being an art form that involves high skill labor and out of the world creativity and in spite of its huge demand in international markets and among discerning art lovers across the globe, the government in India isn't doing much to encourage or patronize this slowly dying Dokra craft. But a strong demand in foreign shores has resulted in a new found resurgence and resurrection of Dokra craft in Bengal.
About the author: Nantaram Orubenga is an artisan working with metals and clays. He wants to do something to keep the ancient Indian Handicrafts alive and to let the world know about it. If you are interested in discovering more on fascinating Indian Arts and Handicrafts, exclusive brassware and dokra craft and dhokra art, you must visit http://www.theindianhandicrafts.com.
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