What is Dhokra Art?

d269b038 e39b 4921 b2b6 2dc55a532fd0

What is Dhokra Art? The casting of non-ferrous metals using the lost-wax casting method is called Dhokra. India has utilized this type of metal casting for many years and continues to do so. Due to their simple primitive design, alluring folk patterns, and strong shape, dhokra artists’ products are highly sought after in both domestic and international markets.

Highly valued Dhokra items include horses, measuring bowls, elephants, religious images, peacocks, and owls. The creation of a clay core that substantially resembles the final cast picture is the first step in the loss wax hollow casting method. A coating of wax made up of pure beeswax, resins from the tree of Damara Orientalis, and nut oil is then applied over the clay core.

Dhokra art

Following that, the wax is moulded and cut in all of its intricate patterns and decorating features. The wax is then coated over with several layers of clay, which assumes the internal negative form, turning it into a mold for the metal that is to be poured within. Again, for wax, drain tubes are left, and when the clay is heated, the wax fades away.

The molten metal is then used to substitute the wax, frequently starting with brass waste. Between the core and the interior surface of the mold, the liquid metal that is put in solidifies. The metal fills the mold and assumes the wax’s form. The metal figure is then polished and completed as required once the outer layer of clay is scraped off.

History of Dhokra Art:

Non-ferrous metals craft called Dhokra ¬†art are made with the (cire perdue) or (lost wax) method. The magnificent artifacts that are formed and embellished brassware items are known as “Dhokra.”

This phrase was originally used to describe the itinerant craftspeople who were dispersed over numerous Indian states, including Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, and Kerala. The Dhokra metalsmiths, a tribal clan, are renowned for their prowess and a wide variety of designs that they draw from Indian folklore.

The Ghadwas is a small artisanal tribe that still works in the Bastar area, producing items out of brass or bell metal. The beginnings of the Ghadwas are the subject of numerous folktales in Bastar.

A necklace made in Dhokra workmanship was given to Bhan Chand, the ruler of Bastar, some three hundred years ago, according to one of the most well-known tales. He was so moved by the artistry of the work that he decided to give the artisan the honorific title of Ghadwa. Ghadwa, which is a derivative of Ghalna, signifies melting and work using wax.

This method has been used in India for 4k years. Several historians place the origin at the Mohenjo-Daro city. Additionally, references to it can be found in Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, and several South East Asian countries. The artist and the craftsmen were the same in ancient India, in which the creation of the designs was integrated.

In trade guilds, they frequently worked under the supervision of masters. Several old manuscripts, including Silparatna, and Manasollasa refer to the solid and hollow wax casting processes. These artifacts entered the global market in the 20th century.

Tribal Motifs:

The well-known art of Chhattisgarh, an east-central Indian state, is called Dhokra art. This state’s rich legacy of culture and craft has long drawn art enthusiasts from all over the world. Tribal motifs involving animals, legendary and real-life characters, and nature are all influences on this painting. We discover these items painted as a source of pride in every home or office since the folk figures utilized to create the artifacts increase their value. Each piece is carefully crafted by Dhokra craftsmen to maintain its authenticity. Using a wax varnishing method, the process requires physically casting bronze and brass metal.

Themes of Dhokra Art:

Beautiful representations of Goddess Durga, Lord Krishna, and Lord Ganesha, animal figures like elephants, deer, and peacocks, elaborate jewelry designs, and the distinctive tree of life with up to one hundred lamps at the ends of its branches are some of the important themes.

It is fascinating to consider that metal symbolism earned prominence in Hindu society due to the religious importance of the trade. In Hindu temples, a large number of metal idols were worshipped. As a reason, numerous generations of hereditary craftsmen practiced the traditional technique of cire perdue.

There are no two Dhokra artworks the same, which further distinguishes this art from others due to its method and complexity. Each sculpture is meticulously made to be unique and beautiful. Mythology, environment, and customs and rituals from everyday life are common sources of inspiration and subjects. It is decorated with intricate paintings of the indigenous deities, the sun, moon, jungle, flora, and animals.

Tribal deities Jhitku-Mitki are a common subject, and an intriguing narrative surrounds these characters. Although Jhitku and Mitki were madly in love, their family disapproved of their union. As a result of her refusal to avoid him, Jhitku was murdered by Mitki’s brothers. Chhattisgarh residents venerate them and frequently create representations of them.

Process of Making Dhokra Art:

2 wax casting methods are used in the lost-wax method: hollow casting and solid casting. A desired model or pattern is made in clay by the artist, and the lovely and complicated design is then imprinted on wax that is poured into the clay model’s negative space. Pure beeswax, resins, and nut oil make up the wax.

The wax copy is covered with a fine clay mixture while it solidifies and dries in the shade. The design is then covered with a thicker layer of clay that has holes on top so that molten metal can be poured through them.

The clay sculpture is sun-dried before being burnt in a conventional kiln. The wax melts from the heat and escapes the mold through the holes. The same holes are used to introduce molten brass metal in the final step. The casting is removed for final polishing.

Tribal Heritage

Dhokra Jewelry is a unique and modern interpretation of an age-old skill, created with goddess and God motifs, flowery shapes, and rustic patterns. Dhokra artisans are currently experimenting with designs to give it a chic and global appearance. A female can combine it with both her ethnic and global fashions.

Along with jewelry, trendy items include wall hangings, dining accessories, flatware, beautiful platters, containers, vases, photo frames, tea light candle holders, and sculptures. These items are a clever mash-up of tribal patterns with modern designs; each one conveys a captivating tale about the tribal heritage, culture, way of life, and emphasis on the environment.


Additionally, artists from West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, and Odisha practice dhokra art. Each Dhokra work is unique since each artist from each state crafts it in his or her special method, so no two can be made the same.

If you look attentively, you will notice that this tribal artwork is not ideal; parts of the body are not appropriate, but it symbolizes its history. Thin legs, arms, and a slim body. This art form’s charm lies in its simplicity combined with its complex work and tribal patterns.

For more posts like this visit Tribal Handcrafts blog.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What is Warli art What is Kalamkari art Aipan Art and its Timeless Stories What is Madhubani art What is Nirmal art