The Dhokra Kamar tribes are the traditional metalsmiths of
West Bengal. They follow a technique of metal casting known as
Dhokra, named after the tribe. Dokra system of metal casting is said
to be oldest form of metal casting and is technically known as 'cire
perdue' or lost wax process .
Firstly, the craftsman start preparing the casting furnace and the
wax image. The wax and the resin (dhuna) should be correctly mixed
with oil to make the necessary lump. The image to be made must be
vividly visualized by the craftsman through meditation, until it is
ready to be modeled in the prepared lump of wax. When the wax-image
is done it has to be purified with pancha- varna or the five
powdered pigments. The joints of the component parts of the wax
model should be reinforced with copper rods or nails before being
covered by the clay mould.
The craftsman sculptures a wax model of the metal object desired,
makes a mould of clay, pours molten metal into a hole in the mould,
breaks away the clay, brings out the object and finally smoothes and
The items produced are mainly figures of Gods,Goddesses, religious
animals and birds besides other objects required for rituals.
Ornaments like necklaces, bracelets and decorative pieces are also
made. The rustic and antique finish of Dokra gives it a distinctive
appearance which appeals to a wide market at home and abroad.
Bankura, Purulia, Midnapore and Burdwan are very popular for
making of Dokra Metal Crafts.