Dhokra Art / Gadhwa Kala-Many consumers, collectors, decorators, and furniture makers have come to appreciate the Dhokra art style due to its association with Chhattisgarh. Animals, mythical beings, human and animal hybrids, natural forms, and other indigenous motifs inform much of Dhokra art.
The area has a long and distinguished history of art and culture. Bastar, located in the southern region of Chhattisgarh, is where the Dhokra craft first gained popularity. The states of Orissa to the east and Maharashtra to the west form Bastar's borders. More than 70% of Bastariya are of tribal descent; this includes people of the Gond, Abhuj Maria, Darda Maria, Bison Horn Maria, Munia Doria, Dhruva, Bhatra, and Halba cultures, among others. The district is home to several distinct communities, each specialising in a particular trade or industry (for example, the Ghadwas practise the Dhokra Art / Gadhwa Kala).
The easiest way to go to Bastar is from the Chhattisgarh capital of Raipur. Dhokra craft clusters in Bastar are located in Kondagaon and Jagdalpur, 225 and 298 kilometres from Raipur. Chhattisgarh's unique Dhokra art style is one of the state's most defining cultural features. Authenticity in a work of Dhokra art is guaranteed by the artist's painstaking attention to detail. Wax casting is an old process used to create metal arts and crafts. The use of discarded metal makes this eco-friendly.
Dhokra, a non-ferrous metal, is cast into numerous goods using the lost-wax casting method. In India, they have been casting metals utilising this technology for almost four thousand years. The Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-Daro is an example of an ancient lost wax sculpture. Dhokra casting, the simplest method of metal casting, is also the oldest. This is a Chhattisgarh speciality.
Due to the high difficulty level and relative lack of participation from the general public, this craft is of great significance. The best examples of Dhokra art can be found in Chhattisgarh's Bastar district. The Dhokra people used a wax-vanishing technique to cast brass and bronze by hand. Dhokra art has a long history, yet it still features intricate depictions of local deities, the sun, the moon, the jungle, vegetation, fauna, etc.
Artefacts from the Mohenjo-Daro and Harappan civilisations have been found to include evidence of the Dhokra craft, demonstrating the industry's traditional and historical significance. The dancing girl statue found in Mohenjo-Daro is evidence of the longevity and development of this art form. Dhokra products are highly sought after by collectors in India and abroad because of the art form's enduring popularity and the fact that it has maintained its traditional values while remaining stark and contemporary.
Bastar is known for its magnificent Dhokra art. The Ghadwas are a loose confederation of artisans that specialise in making bell metal and brass items. Among the many legends related in Bastar regarding where the Ghadwas came from, one of the most popular recounts how three centuries ago, the ruler of Bastar, Bhan Chand, was made aware of the beauty of the Dhokra skill when he received a necklace fashioned for his loving wife in style. Ghadwa comes from the Arabic term ghalna, which means "to melt and work with wax," thus, he gave it to the craftsman as a way to show his appreciation.
Therefore, the term "Ghadwa" is applied to these people since they are responsible for preparing the craft objects by melting the metal using the lost wax technique. The word "gadhna," which means "to make," is another possible origin for the name. Ghadna, which means "to form" or "to create," is likely the origin of the word given to the craftspeople who cast the pieces from molten brass and copper. Skilled workers are known by various names depending on where they are. These include Ghasia, Khaser, Mangan, and Vishwakarma.
Check out our Dhokra Art Collection here
Also do check out our Exclusie Collection on Amazon