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Dokra Metal Casting

Dokra Metal Casting
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 polishes it.

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.

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