The Fascinating Dhokra Art Of West Bengal, absolutely makes us amazed with the incredible creations.
Though we know that human beings are the most intelligent among all creatures, yet the inventions, creations, as well as discoveries wonder us. Similarly the metal smiths from Bengal created “Dhokra” at about 4000 years ago the non–ferrous metal casting using the lost-wax casting technique.
The antique looking handcrafted objects of Dhokra with their golden finish are amongst the popular crafts available today.
The product of dhokra artisans are in great demand in domestic and foreign markets because of primitive simplicity, enchanting folk motifs and forceful form. Dhokra horses, elephants, peacocks, owls, religious images, measuring bowls, and lamp caskets etc are highly appreciated.
Though the process of making Dhokra objects is lengthy and laborious yet the final outcome is so innovative that the metal smiths become glad enough to ignore all the troubles while making these.
The first task in the lost wax hollow casting process consists of developing a clay core which is roughly the shape of the final cast image. Next, the clay core is covered by a layer of wax composed of pure beeswax, resin from the tree Damara orientalis, and nut oil. The wax is then shaped and carved in all its finer details of design and decorations. It is then covered with layers of clay, which takes the negative form of the wax on the inside, thus becoming a mould for the metal that will be poured inside it. Drain ducts are left for the wax, which melts away when the clay is cooked. The wax is then replaced by the molten metal, often using brass scrap as basic raw material. The liquid metal poured in hardens between the core and the inner surface of the mould. The metal fills the mould and takes the same shape as the wax. The outer layer of clay is then chipped off and the metal icon is polished and finished as desired.
Giving this primitive form a modern twist different ideas are applied nowadays. For example when people take their cattle for grazing, or they go to market, we capture these routine events folklore in the artifacts. We try to capture people singing, dancing, sleeping, cooking, cutting wood etc in the objects that we create.
The technique of making these artifacts involves only natural elements. Despite the arduous and time consuming nature of the technique, the process has not been mechanized. And generations of tribal’s have managed to retain the traditional motifs and
And the only way for these artists to keep their fading traditions alive is by passing on this rare gift to the future generations, although the returns are not very attractive. We heartily try to reach the message to the people to give value to the hard work of the smiths who are trying their best to represent our state as well as country.