Dhokra Metalcraft is also called Dokra Metal craft which is quite popular in the tribal community. Dhokra or Dokra is also known as the bell metal craft which is a tribal metal craft and can be widely seen in Jainoor Mandal, the Adilabad district of Telangana.
Well, this Dhokra craft is an ancient craft, a bell metal craft that is practiced by Ojha metal smiths of Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Orissa, and Telangana. And the making style and crafting skills vary as per the region of the artist. Like in Telangana state, the Ojha artists are known as Wojaris and Ojjis who create brass metal art objects by using the tedious but perfect lost wax technique while casting the metal.
However, the Dhokra artifacts are mainly made of brass metal and are very unique. The method is by combing metallurgical skills with wax techniques employing the lost wax technique which is a very unique form, where it is moulded and used only once and broken, makes this art the only one of its kind in the world.
In this technique, the artists make bronze and brass-related objects using the casting techniques called Dhokra, where a clay model is a core, over which wax threads are wrapped around to form a layer, and again another line is covered to form another layer. Molten bronze or brass is poured into this opening and then metal melts the wax completely and replaces it with brass or bronze.
Meanwhile, the wax is replaced by molten metal, they use brass scrap as the basic raw material. The liquid metal was poured between the core and the inner surface. The metal fills the mould and takes the shape. Then the outer layer of clay is removed and the metal icon is polished and finished.
The specialty of these crafts is, what you see is different and unique from another piece of art. They make objects like figurines, tribal gods, etc. and these works are good in demand in the national and international markets both. They make folk motifs, peacocks, elephants, horses, measuring bowls, lamp caskets, owls, religious images, other simple forms of art, and some traditional designs.
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You know, the Dhokra and this type of metal casting has been used in India for more than 4000 years and continues to be used. And till now it is famous in the world and great demand. Dhokra is very labor intensive as the making of a simple piece could take up to 4-5 days while more complex designs could take up to 2-3 weeks. The designs are mainly traditional, also they are known to make modern designs on demand.
The characteristic pieces include thin and elongated metal figurines. The unique feature of a Dhokra artifact is that the pieces do not have any joints. The entire object is handcrafted with the final product that has a clear texture depending on the wax strips used in its design.
The things have recently started looking up for the Ojha of Adilabad as they came into the limelight in their local markets comprising of the Gond tribal homes and their seasonal jatras or fairs. The idols of local deities including goddess Jangubai, Bheemalpen, and Persapen are the most popular as are other items used in worship.
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