India Craft - Dokra Metal Craft

The word Dokra or Dhokra was used to specify a group of craftsmen of traveling type, scattered over Bengal, Orissa and Madhya Pradash and were identified by their marvelously fashioned and ornamented metal goods. The craftsmen have later on established in some areas of Bardwan, Bankura and Midapur districts of West Bengal parting their itinerant nature.

The expression Dokra in Bengali is used with disdain for those who are communally stumpy and detested. Of all craftsmen in West Bengal, these metal smiths are generally most mistreated as social outcasts. Consequently they are called Dokras.

Dokra structure of metal casting is said to be oldest form of metal casting and is precisely known as ‘cire perdue’ or lost wax procedure. A duplication of the preferred product is made with wax on a clay center with all its improved particulars of designs and decorations. A small amount of coats of delicately ready clay paste is applied over the replica and dried out in the shadow.

When the wax-image is done it has to be purified with pancha- varna or the five minced pigments. The joints of the constituent parts of the wax model should be toughened with copper rod or nails before being enclosed by the clay mould. These supports may be chiseled off after the wax model melts away in the heat of the furnace.

These Dokras craft an assortment of imagery and figures of gods and goddesses, birds and animals. Their major items of manufacture are measuring cutlery of different sizes and anklets and tinkling dancing bells for the Santhals. They make paikona, dhunuchi, pancha pradeep, anklets, ghunghrus with mixed aluminium by the lost wax process but do not make any imagery or figures. The dexterity of Dokra is exclusive in that no two Dokra products are alike. Of exacting attention is the way humble every day wares are perfected with immense love, care and creativity.

Dokra castings usually include of home beautification accessories like lamp holders, lamps, chains, and a variety of symbols of ethnic folklore and religion, and beautiful tribal jewelry of tribal Indian designs and patterns. In current years, this eternal tradition of wonderfully fashioned, decorated and handcrafted goods of Dokra artisans are in immense command in domestic and foreign marketplace because of it primeval plainness and enthralling folk motifs. Untutored in recognized institutions, the talent and artistic sagacity of these people are the outcome of the instinctive and intuitive innovative sense evolved over thousands of years.

In current years, the product of Dokra artisans are in immense command in domestic and foreign market because of it primitive simplicity charming folk motifs and powerful form. 57 families are still occupied in the crafts scattered in the districts like Bankura, Birbhum, Burdwan and Midnapur.