Dhokra Bell Metal Art / Indian Deity Vishnu
AGE: – Estimate early 20th Century
CONSTRUCTION:- Metal (brass)
#04 – PRICE: CONTACT
Traditional Dhokra Bell Metal Art / Indian Deity Vishnu made using a type of non-ferrous metal that uses the lost-wax casting technique, a technique practised in India for over 4,000 years and still used by some tribal metal smiths in states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal and Telangana.
Dhokra bell metal artefacts have a distinctive look and beauty. They are often shaped into figures of images of Hindu Or ‘tribal’ gods and goddesses, human-type figures, bowls, deities riding elephants, musicians, horses and riders, birds and domestic animals.
Dhokra bell metal craft involves making a clay core that is covered with wax and then carved with fine details. The wax is then covered with clay and heated to melt the wax and create a mould. Molten brass is then poured into the mould and left to harden. The clay is then broken and the brass object is polished and finished.
The name ‘Dhokra’ was previously used to indicate a group of nomadic craftsmen, scattered over Bengal, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh in India. This form of art was mainly practised by groups of non-Hindu, semi-nomadic artisans called Dhokras. Some of the Dhokra families appear to have migrated into the alluvial plains of Bengal, finally settling around centres such as Bankura, Burdwan, Purulia and Midnapur.
The makers of dhokra bell metal figures used to move from village to village in the southwestern districts, repairing old and broken utensils and selling small images of Lakshmi, her mount, the owl, Lakshmi Narayan riding on an elephant, Radha in different postures as well as Lords’ Krishna, Shiva and Vishnu, all made in a very primitive folk style.
Images such as these were installed in household shrines of newly married Hindu couples to bring prosperity and happiness. They also made and sold as decorative caskets in different shapes and sizes, purchased by housewives for various purposes. Measuring bowls were made in several different sizes and were considered symbols of Lakshmi, therefore highly prized by those villagers who could afford them.
Dhokra bell metal is also appreciated for its cultural and historical significance, as it reflects the ancient traditions and skills of the tribal communities and has received several awards and recognition for its excellence and uniqueness in the field of handicrafts.