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'DOKRA' ( BRASS WORK) ART - CRAFTSMEN FROM WEST BENGAL

Updated on December 19, 2007

Artists of Bighna settlement, near Bankura town, West Bengal

Do you love to have beautiful brasswork for decorating your home ?

Craftsmen of Bighna make artefacts for you....... if you are around Bishnupur or Durgapur, please do visit this village, see for yourself how the artists and their family work as a community in design, production and finishing the exquisite articles which go out to various shops in India displaying handicrafts.Here, you get a chance to see what goes inside these artefacts.......the process of'manufacturing' !

My wife and I visited this settlement on NH 68, joining Bankura and Ranigunj (just opposite the FCI godowns) during our return trip from Bishnupur to Calcutta .The experience reminded me of the glass factory I saw in a village near Vaxjo, Sweden, where erstwhile Flak's Head Office and Workshop were located. There also I found members of the same village, often from the same families, working shoulder-to-shoulder.

I read about 'Dokra' artists in an article on the art of late sculptor Meera Mukhopadhyaya, who created the statue of Ashoka that stands in the Garden of Wecome Group's hotel in New Delhi.She developed her technique of castingon the traditional line of 'Dokra' artists.I came across this type of work in Birla Science & Technology Museum, Calcutta during a workshop for'Dokra' artists.I was fortunate to pick up a 16'' Durga , crafted by Juddha karmakar, holder of President's Merit certificate.

Here in Bighna, on 13/12/07, we saw the artists and craftsmen working...... the pace of work was hectic with 'Pousmela',the annual fair @ Shantiniketan, dt. Birbhum ,being less than 2 weeks away. And it was quite an experience.

The main raw material is brass. A soft paste-like material is made by mixing incense- resin,wax and mustard oil and then boiling the same on fire.This material is manipulated to form an elastic strip which is ued in formation of the artefacts .In the photos I publish here, you can see the shapes taking form in the hands of the artist, clay casings with funnels through which liquid metal is poured, drying of the casings, castings after the clay casings have been broken and a typical oven for melting brass ( a simple table-fan providing the draught !!).

The photos of the artefacts speak for themselves.

The Artefacts and the 'Process' of creation

Twenty years old 'Durga' from my collection. Created by an award-winner 'Dokra' artist.
Twenty years old 'Durga' from my collection. Created by an award-winner 'Dokra' artist.
 A close-up. The woman carrying logs of firewood.The man carrying axe.
A close-up. The woman carrying logs of firewood.The man carrying axe.
Artist starting the 'make' the core of a 'Ganesha' idol.
Artist starting the 'make' the core of a 'Ganesha' idol.
Ready cores are covered within clay casings-I
Ready cores are covered within clay casings-I
Ready cores ( of elephants)are being covered within clay casings-II
Ready cores ( of elephants)are being covered within clay casings-II
Mounds of ready casings getting dried in the sun.
Mounds of ready casings getting dried in the sun.
An oven being fired. A table fan provides the draught. A few castings are getting dried on top ofthe furnace.
An oven being fired. A table fan provides the draught. A few castings are getting dried on top ofthe furnace.
Clay covers are being peeled off .
Clay covers are being peeled off .
A tribal couple. Other statuettes in the background.
A tribal couple. Other statuettes in the background.
A tribal woman. A basket in her hand.
A tribal woman. A basket in her hand.
Several statuettes. Tribal couple and their daily chores.
Several statuettes. Tribal couple and their daily chores.

Comments

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    • shyamchat profile imageAUTHOR

      shyamchat 

      6 years ago from Calcutta

      Pl appreciate that my visit to Bighna was in 2007. I have not preserved the only phone no the woman handling the furnace in one of my photos you have seen.

      I do not know where you are located - for direct procurement , you may think of reaching the village yourself. It is located on the highway from Ranigunge to Bankura - therefore access is not a problem.

      Best wishes.

    • profile image

      mrinal 

      6 years ago

      Hi!

      I need some contact of some artists from whom I can buy the crafts directly.

      Could you help ?

    • profile image

      varuna 

      6 years ago

      sir/madam

      i am a student and persuing my studies in interior from delhi..

      i want details of craftsmen of dokra art of bengal...because i am interested to do my craft documation on bengal craft.

      regards

    • shyamchat profile imageAUTHOR

      shyamchat 

      7 years ago from Calcutta

      Dear Laurence,

      Do you need any help from me ?

    • profile image

      Laurence. France 

      7 years ago

      Thank you for great description. Im an Indian tribal Art admirator from France. Will love to purchase this art directly from the villager family...

      Cordialy

      Laurence

    • shyamchat profile imageAUTHOR

      shyamchat 

      7 years ago from Calcutta

      Thanks for your encouraging comments.

      Dear Debajyotidas - Presently out of station.Pl remind towards end Sept,10.

    • profile image

      debjyotidas 

      7 years ago

      It's a nice writing. i want those plz what is co. no. plz call me 9038981345

    • profile image

      arabinda mitra 

      9 years ago

      It's a nice writing on Dokra. I have learnt a lot from your painstaking article. The photos are vivid and lively . Thank you

      arabinda mitra

      arabckv_100@rediffmail.com

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