The state speaks volume about its cultural diversity through its rich art & craft. From delicate weaves to a good range of exquisite artefacts, the heart of Incredible India is blessed with many distinguished crafts and talented craftsmen who give their soul and heart to create countless masterpieces. Dhokra is one such attractive art form which is quite popular in the state. It is widely practised in the Betul district by the local tribal community. It’s a non- ferrous (other than iron or steel) metal moulding craft, created using the lost-wax casting technique.
The tribal influence in Dhokra
The Bharewas community of Betul, a sub-tribe of Gonds is still putting all their efforts to improve and enrich this craft in nearby villages namely Amla, Tigaria, Barkhed, Chunahazuri and Kamleshara. Intertwined with their culture, the artists traditionally made ceremonial items like the dagger worn by the groom, oil lamps gifted to the bride by her parents and accessories for the tribal gods. The most popular ritual associated with craft among the tribal community is enshrining of the deity in the house of newly married to give blessings for their new journey. With simple to intricate, today artisans have found many new ways to make the craft look more eye-catching with innovative designs and motifs. Each piece tells a story, usually inspired by nature and tribal beliefs. Hence, every piece of Dhokra is precious, graceful and unique!
Dhokra work involves a mixture of beeswax (natural wax) and saras (gum), which is boiled to a thick paste and pressed through a strainer, to get fine threads. The unique property of natural beeswax allows flexibility and helps to twist the treads in tiny shapes easily.
To start the final process, artists take a mixture of mud and cow dung to make a shape out of it, then in the next step, the wax thread is coiled around it. Now, another layer of mud coating is done and the piece is left to dry down completely. It is then placed in the furnace to bake for a while. Lastly, the outer clay is removed, and unveiled the masterpiece of Dhokra.
Attracting many art lovers…
The craftsmanship has been driving many art & craft lovers from all over the world and making a mark not only in local markets but also in the global market. It has found places in many exhibitions and gracing many high street store in abroad countries.
So, as we say, when in Madhya Pradesh, you cannot leave the state without picking-up some pretty souvenirs. The brass metal figurines such as a lamp, bell, photo frames, animal figures, and bullock carts can make for ideal souvenirs and sit beautifully on tables as a showpiece to keep a reminder of this beautiful state.