The Traditional Indian craft of Dokra

Dokra, or Dhokra, is not just a form of tribal jewelry. It indicates a nomadic group of people scattered over West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in India. The term along with the people are now famous world wide for the beautiful handcrafted metalware that originated out of their traditional craftsmanship. The craftsmen have eventually left their nomadic character and settled down in some areas of Bardwan, Bankura and Midapur districts of West Bengal.

The Dokra system of metal casting is one of the oldest form of metal casting and is technically known as 'cire perdue' or lost wax process. This lost wax process or 'Cire Perdue' is implemented to cast brass, bronze, or any of the noble metal. A replica of the desired product is made with wax on a clay core with all it finer details of designs and decorations. Dokra castings generally comprise of home decoration accessories like lamp holders, lamps, chains, figures and various symbols of tribal folklore and religion, and exquisite tribal jewelry of ethnic Indian designs and patterns.

A few coats of finely prepared clay paste is applied over the model and dried in the shade. Then the core of wax with is removed and replaced with molten metal by the traditional hollow casting method. The craft of Dokra is unique in that no two Dokra products are similar. Of particular interest is the way humble daily wares are perfected with great love, care and artistry. In recent years, this timeless heritage of beautifully shaped, ornamented and handcrafted products of Dokra artisans are in great demand in domestic and foreign market because of it primitive simplicity and enchanting folk motifs. Untrained in formal institutions, the skill and aesthetic sense of these people are the result of the innate and instinctive creative sense evolved over thousands of years Beads can be woven into innumerable patterns and designs, and trends keep changing along with time. Vintage beaded jewelry from the yore bring back the golden days of past civilizations, much remembered and longed for by all. These antique items, in magnificent designs and exotic patterns induce an addictive nostalgia for both the wearer and the admirer. It is not only beauty, but also an original charm of yester years that make antique beaded jewelry a collector's prime choice.

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