All You Need to Know About Dhokra Art

All You Need to Know About Dhokra Art

 

HISTORY OF DHOKRA ART

Dhokra art form has been around for about 4000 years and is regarded as one of the greatest heritages from the Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro civilizations. The dancing girl of Mohenjo-Daro is among the most well-known examples of Dhokra art worldwide. 

Can you believe it? It's still highly demanded not only in India but in other countries as well!! Some of its largest enthusiasts from across the world may be found in European cities like Milan, Paris, and London. 

Dhokra Damar tribe is a tribe of metalsmiths from West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, and Chhatisgarh in the east and central India,  Kerala in the south and Rajasthan in the north. 

Our rich cultural history includes Dhokra Art. While encouraging local and folk art is a personal choice, it is critical to recognize that our rich history should not be lost or forgotten. Tribals in Indian communities spend their waking hours crafting unique handicrafts and selling them to trusted handloom stores which help in preserving our nation’s art. 

We, at iTokri, would like to appreciate all the efforts put in by various artisans from all around India.

CLASSIC CASTING TECHNIQUE

The artists begin the process of creating Dhokra art by collecting clay. This is then combined with Khuda (rice paddy husk) to form a dough. It serves as a binding agent for the clay core, which generally corresponds to the form of the final cast design. Later it is dried in the sun. 

The second stage is to prepare a combination of bee's wax, Damar (gum/resin) from the tree 'Damara Orientalis,' and nut oil which is then inserted into a mold. When the wax mixture is squeezed into the mold, it emerges in the shape of long strands/spirals. These strands are then wrapped around the Dhokra figures giving them their distinct appearance. The wax is then shaped, and finer features such as the pattern and embellishment are engraved on it. The wax is then coated with numerous layers of red clay and Khuda, which serve as an exterior coat.

The brass fragment is then inserted into the mold and then heated in the furnace. The metal and wax melt during this procedure. The wax oozes out of the frame through several outlets which is why it is termed “lost wax”. After that, it is dried in the sun once more. When the metal has dried, it adopts the shape of the frame. Finally, the frame is cracked and the finishing touches are added. Voila! An amazing and unique dhokra piece is ready!

DHOKRA HANDICRAFTS 

The products made by Dhokra artisans are in great demand in domestic and foreign markets as it is distinguished by their appealing folk patterns, and clean and sharp lines. 

Dhokra jewelry was worn by tribal women. Now there are beautiful dhokra bracelets,  necklaces, earringsrakhis and anklets that the current artists create using a mix of old and new designs. These jewelry designs are inspired by local deities, the sun, the moon, the forest, flora and animals, and so forth. 

Apart from jewelry, there are dhokra items used in everyday domestic chores, such as bowls and volume measurements for rice or grains. Dhokra home decor and kitchenware demand have increased. Such as decorative frames, wall panels, door knobs, lanterns, water jugs, flower vases, coasters, soap cases, ashtrays, bells, key holders, cutlery items, and other goods.

The rusty appearance of Dhokra jewelry adds charm and elegance to each item. It always stands out among other ornaments and is one-of-a-kind that can also make an excellent gift. Visit iTokri’s Dhokra jewelry collection website to get handmade tribal jewelry that will warm your heart. We assure you will find enough!

STATE WISE STYLES 

WEST BENGAL

Bankura city in West Bengal is still a vibrant centre for Dhokra art. Their renowned works include men and women performing daily chores, animals and birds like elephants and peacocks. Here is an image of a Dhokra elephant with intricate detailing and style.

 

JHARKHAND

The Malhar tribe of Pundi village in Jharkhand make exquisite Dhokra vases, keychains, local deities, miniature figures and tiny jewelry. This is a source of livelihood for the tribe there and their aim is to save the culture and ancient artwork and crafts. Here is an image of Dhokra kadas. 

CHHATTISGARH 

Dhokra art is practiced in the villages of Ektaal and Bastar. Its uniqueness stems from the fact that it is home to several national and state-level award-winning artists. The basic material utilized here is brass, which exists in the form of old brass kitchenware or brass scrap and Dhokra pieces from Chhattisgarh are distinguished by their narrow body, tiny hands and legs, and coiled surface design. The artists draw inspiration for their artwork from nature, flora, wildlife, mythology, and basic rituals. Here is an image of local deities. 

CHALLENGES FACED BY DHOKRA ARTISANS

  1. The growing cost of raw materials is one of the craft's most difficult obstacles. Because the raw material is so expensive, the artisans strive to compensate by combining cheaper alternatives, which lowers the quality of the end product. 
  2. Direct marketing is another challenge. The involvement of middlemen in this process is critical. In the case of large orders, there are budget management challenges because bank loan facilities become an obstacle.
  3. Lack of awareness about new concepts being tested all around the world, as well as a lack of motivation and incentive to work with fresh ideas. The majority of craftsmen are unaware of the numerous government programs and policies. 

OUR RESOLUTION 

We have a responsibility to protect and promote one of our nation's greatest artistic traditions. When awareness will increase, it will become easier to combat other challenges. Therefore, we must make it a point to support these local artists whenever we can by purchasing from them, which will encourage them to continue creating and keep them motivated. To shop from these local artisans checkout iTokri for the best Dhokra jewelry and home decor!

Blogs you might also like:

Madhubani Paintings - A Brief Story of the Art
Sanganeri Chapai - The Ancient hand block printing Art
Kahani' of The 'Khandani' Banarsi Wooden Artery

  

REFERENCES

https://asiainch.org/craft/dokra-metal-craft-of-west-bengal/ 

https://indiacurrents.com/dhokra-art-is-a-sustainable-tribal-legacy/ 

https://artsandculture.google.com/story/kAUBNhtpqUgiIg?hl=en 

https://www.academia.edu/31045141/Dokra_Art_and_Artisans_An_Ethnoarchaeological_Study_from_Burdwan_District_West_Bengal 

https://spaindustrialdesign.wordpress.com/2020/12/15/dhokra-art-and-craft-of-bastar-and-ekatal-chhattisgarh/ 

https://www.inditales.com/ektaal-a-crafts-village-of-chhattisgarh/ 

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