Dokra is the name given to the metal craft or brassware handicrafts produced by the Dokra craftsmen of Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and the Vindhya hills region. Traditionally Dokra craft, as these artifacts are called, have derived their name from the tribe ‘Dokra’ who manufacture these goods.
The technical name for the process of lost wax used in the metal casting of Dokra craft is called cire perdue in French and this technique is very much in vogue in France. Do you know one of the oldest forms of metal casting in the world is this Dokra craft and it dates back to some 4500 years in the past to the days of Mohenjodaro – one of the famed seats of the Indus valley civilization?
However there is good news to cheer up the lovers of indigenous folk culture, Indian handicrafts, brassware handicrafts and Dokra craft. Because of the forceful form, enchanting folk motifs and primitive simplicity of Dokra craft, it has witnessed a huge demand in the foreign shores as well as in domestic markets. And this has brought about the resurrection and resurgence of this art form.
In the domestic markets as well as in international art markets, the Dokra items which are highly coveted and well appreciated are lamp caskets, measuring bowls, religious images, peacock, elephants, owl, horses, small containers shaped like treasure chests, lions, tigers, mouse, camels, pen stands, lamp shades, kings, human heads, ritual deities, Gods and Goddesses, religious animals and birds, Santhali jewelry, anklets, trinkets, necklets, bracelets and other such things.
There is further good news for those who are working for the revival of Dokra craft, Dokra artisans and the socially backward communities engaged in this trade. Leading fashion houses in the fashion capitals of the world, such as in Paris, Milan and London, have expressed acute interest in Dokra motifs and symbols.
And it’s because of the encouragement and patronage received from these global fashion stores that Dhokra art is witnessing such popularity and resurgence. The humble Dokra craft of India will now travel from the obscure tribal villages of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Bengal to the high street fashion stores of Paris, Milan, London, Tokyo, New York, Rome and Madrid.
No longer will these impoverished Dokra craftsmen have to depend on the meager sales of their brassware in local crafts fairs and small local markets.