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The History of Dhokra Art | Unabashed™

The History of Dhokra Art

June 22, 2017

Dhokra Art is a traditional casting method that has been practiced in India for over 4,000 years: one of the oldest techniques of its kind. The Dhokra Damar tribes were the original metalsmiths of West Bengal and the technique of lost wax casting is named after their tribe.

Dancing Girl of Mohenjor Daro

Dancing Girl of Mohenjor Daro, the first known Indian lost wax artifact; 2500 BC. Img Source.

Using the lost wax technique, wax made from beeswax, resin, and oil is shaped either on its own, as in South India, or over a clay form, as in Central and Eastern India. The craftsman kneads the wax by hand, which warms the material for ease of use. Most pieces take on the shapes of folk motifs, animals, or religious figures and range in size from jewelry to large sculptures.

The wax is covered in layers of clay to make a cast; this is where the final details are added. Artisans pour liquid metal- usually brass- into the core through a funnel left at the top of the mold. When cooled, the clay is chipped off and the metal is polished and/or patinaed into a finished product. There can be many variations in final product depending on the artisan and location.

The lost wax application is in high demand due to the simplicity in form and detailed composition. Once the clay mold is broken off the metal, a new mold must be made. Since Dhokra art is hand formed, each is unique and cannot be exactly replicated.

Unabashed™ Dhokra Brass Bag

Dhokra Art for Unabashed™

The most popular Dhokra pieces depict traditional tribal dances where both men and women are represented through distinct figurines. These artifacts capture the joyous moments in dance and ritual celebration. Against the black velvet of the Unabashed™ clutch bag, this folk aesthetic offers a beautiful contrast of tribal art against a contemporary backdrop.

Unabashed™ has introduced Dhokra art to the couture collection on account of its detailed composition and rich history. The dancing figures on our collection of Dhokra Brass clutch bags express festivity and celebrate tradition. Each brass piece is sourced responsibly with importance placed on the artisan. Unabashed™ is honored to bring this traditional art form to our exclusive collection of couture handbags.

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