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Dokra handicraft, a thing of ancient beauty

3 July, 2021 15:51:07
Dokra handicraft, a thing of ancient beauty

The term Dokra (or Dhokra) comes from the Dokra Damar tribe, an extensive ethnic community now spread all across India. This tribe produces the traditional metalsmiths of West Bengal and Odisha, who have given Dokra artefacts their name, and their technique of lost wax casting is the basis for Dokra metal casting. The tribe extends across Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha, and its members are related to the Chhattisgarh Dokras.

Goddess Saraswati

What we popularly call ‘Dokra’ is essentially a wide range of handcrafted decorated brassware products, created by the ‘lost wax’ process of metal casting. Long established as the earliest known method of non-ferrous (metal other than iron or steel) casting known to mankind, this traditional art was practised even by the Indus Valley Civilisation communities, which is how we have the famous Dancing Girl statuette. 


This ancient art is thought to have come to the heartland of Bengal almost 3,500 years ago and even today, artisans following this continuing tradition create various figurines and models of gods, goddesses, animals, birds, everyday objects, and even jewellery. The happy news is that many of these are available with us, which means you can order the item of your choice without delay.

The ‘lost-wax process’ of creating brass models involves making a replica of the desired product with wax over a clay core, upon which the finer details of design and decoration are delicately crafted. Thereafter, another layer of soft clay is applied to cover the entire model. After sun drying, molten brass is poured through a small hole which melts away the wax, with the brass filling up the space. Finally, after cooling and with the removal of the outer clay layer, an exquisite work of art emerges, and its unpolished look is kept intact. No external chemical polish is applied on the pieces that we stock, because we want to retain their ancient, original beauty.

Shri Ganesh Hanging Diya

Owing to high demand, The Bengal Store’s stock of Dokra artefacts is always moving, so order your piece now. As with everything else that the store stocks, you will have no complaints about originality and purity.

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