Dhokra art is one of the earliest known methods of non-ferrous metal casting known to human civilization. The oldest form of metal casting `Dhokra` is popular because of its primitive simplicity.This art style is speciality of semi tribal communities of central India located in Madhya Pradesh,West Bengal, Orissa and parts of Vindhya range. It is a very important handicrafts because of its more or less exclusive folk character.The Dhokras of Bihar, Orissa, and West Bengal are distant cousins of the Madhya Pradesh. They all perhaps belong to a tribal group of that area.
Fine Art of Dhokra
Made by tribals, Dhokra is notable for its strength and shapeliness of design. Its motifs are mostly drawn from folk culture. While among the animals, the elephant is most popular, other motifs, include human heads, kings, manas or miniature replica of measures, containers with lids, with or without locking devices, images of deities like Ganesh and Durga, lamps and lamp stands. The last being made in several intricate designs in shape of trees and branches with as many as hundred lamps in one stand. Of late some utilitarian articles like candle stands, ash trays and pen stands are also being made keeping the essential folk design intact.
Procedure of making Dhokra
The Dhokras use lost-wax process to cast hollow brass objects and images. The essence of the process is to model the object in wax, each one individually, around a hardened clay core which has approximately the shape of object to be cast. Layers of soft, refractory material are laid over wax model and hardened into a mould. The wax between core and mould is lost or burnt out as mould is heated. Then molten metal takes its place and hardens between the core and inner surface of mould which holds a negative impression of the wax model in all its detail. The outer surface of hardened metal, therefore, reproduce the shape and details of original wax model, with the core producing hollow interior. The hard core and mould become spongy and soft on firing and are easily removed.
Images of Ganesh, Durga, lamps, lamp stands, candle stands, ash trays, pen stands.