The Art of Dokra

What is Dokra (or Dhokra)?
Dokra (bell metal casting), is the ancient art of making stunning metal figurines fashioned from bell metal or bronze and copper based alloys made in the ‘Lost Wax Casting’ method. 
The art of Dokra goes back thousands of years and is part of the cultural heritage of specific indigenous communities mainly in red soil area of Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal where minerals like copper were available in abundance . In Jharkhand today it is practiced by indigenous communities like Malhore, Rana and Thetri in Jharkhand.
The Process of Dokra
The process is intricate and is entirely handcrafted without the use of any advanced technology. The quality and design of each artifact depends on the level of skill, imagination and creativity of the artisan and may take as long as a month to make a single piece. The cool fact about Dokra is that no two objects are the same. In this age of machine made perfection, the very beauty and uniqueness of Dokra lies in its imperfections.
The first step in the process is creating a core, which is slightly smaller than the final artefact, using clay. It is dried in the sun and given a coat of wax in the desired thickness of the artefact. It is again coated in a layer of clay and intricate designs are carved thereafter. More layers of clay are added afterwards and dried till the mould is hard enough. It is then heated to melt the wax. Once the wax comes off, molten metal is poured in the cavity and left to acquire the shape of the clay mould. Once the metal cools off, it is dried, and the mould is broken into two or three equal pieces. The artefact is then revealed. The final step involves applying patina to the metal object. A final coat of wax is then painted to preserve the patina.
The artifacts made mainly include religious gods and goddesses, animals, birds, humans going about their daily life and household items.

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