Dhokra Metal casting: Tribal Art
Dhokra metal-casting uses the lost-wax technique; one of the earliest and most advanced method of metal casting known to human civilization. This unbroken tradition coupled with the intrinsic starkness and vitality of the art form makes Dhokra coveted by collectors.
Dhokra is comprised mostly of scrap metal, so it’s also eco-friendly! Dhokra crafts people are settled over a vast tract in the mineral rich central Indian tribal belt (the regions of Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, and parts of Andhra Pradesh). The Dhokra motifs are inspired by indigenous folk culture. There is a primitive simplicity and imaginative use of design and pattern. Untutored in recognized institutions, the artistic talent of the craftsman is instinctively creative. Intuitive innovation evolved over thousands of years.
The craftsmen combine their understanding of metal with artistry,which has led to identifying them as artists more than metal workers.The craftsmen make a clay core which resembles the end product.This core is wrapped with thin threads,drawn from beeswax which is mixed with dhuna, resin, from the Sal tree (Shorea robusta). The object is usually hollow cast through the lost wax process,a technique said to have a history that goes back nearly 5000 years in India.The characteristic feature of dhokra objects is its threaded appearance.The mould is broken after the object is cast. Hence,each piece is unique. Unlike the classical tradition of metal casting the dhokra craftsman gives free rein to his imagination. Craftsmen extract a mixture of metals from scraps to make objects of Utilitarian purpose and ritualistic purpose for tribal communities.