Bengal Dokra is a traditional metal casting technique that originated in the eastern state of West Bengal, India. This ancient art form involves casting metal objects by the lost-wax method, which involves creating a wax mold of the desired object, which is then covered with clay and heated until the wax melts away, leaving a cavity into which melted metal is poured. The final product is a beautifully detailed, hand-crafted metal object that is treasured for its unique character and traditional design.
Dokra art is typically used to create a wide range of objects, including jewelry, utensils, and decorative items, such as bells and figurines. The art form is known for its intricate designs and detailed motifs, which often feature Hindu gods and goddesses, along with other symbolic imagery. The metal used for Dokra is typically an alloy of brass and bronze, which is melted and poured into the mold, resulting in a dense, durable, and beautifully finished product.
Bengal Dokra is an important part of the cultural heritage of India, and it is treasured by art lovers and collectors alike for its unique beauty and traditional design. The art form is practiced by a small community of artisans, many of whom have learned the craft from their ancestors and continue to pass it down from generation to generation. Despite the challenges posed by modernization and industrialization, Bengal Dokra remains an important and thriving tradition, and it continues to be an important source of livelihood and cultural pride for the people of West Bengal.
Whether you're looking for a unique piece of jewelry, a decorative item for your home, or a gift for someone special, Bengal Dokra offers a beautiful and timeless piece of craftsmanship that is sure to be treasured for generations to come.
Dokra products involve a tedious process of designing, metal casting and finishing touches that need immense care, creativity and passion for the craft. Each piece of the art work is unique as one mould can only be used for one product.
First the mud is sieved by women to make it free from pebbles. Then it is mixed with water and a smooth dough is formed. After this, the initial rough structure is made and kept in the sun for drying.
After that, the wax and tar work is done to bring out the shape of the item. In Bikna, crafts persons use tar and resin wood gum (Dhuno) to form an elastic substance produced through continuous heating and cover the mud structure with the elastic mix. In Dariyapur, crafts persons use wax and tar. As wax is very soft, resins are mixed. 1 kg of wax is mixed with 600 gm of resin and 500 gm of mustard oil. For further precision, form, and fine detailing a layer of resin and mustard oil is applied. 1 kg of resin is mixed with 250 gm of mustard oil. The intricate designs and the detailing are done with these elastic threads.
Thereafter a thick layer of mud is pasted and the structure is perforated on top and metal pieces are introduced in it through a metal funnel and then the whole thing is wrapped with the mud and dried in the sun and put into the furnace.
The crafts persons know the exact time required for the completion of the process. The products are then carefully taken out using tongs and the mud wrap, which is now hard, is broken. Inside lies the beautiful creation of the artist just like a pearl in an oyster. Buffing is done to give shine, polish and to make the surface even.