Dhokra Art | UPSC

Dhokra Art | UPSC


Aesthetic Dhokra Decorative Pieces Added to the Tribes India Collection

      WHY IN NEWS:

Exquisite Dhokra products from different tribes of India were among the main items added in its 7th edition of “From Our Home to your Home” campaign on Tribes India

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Tribal Affairs
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 : Tribes : Art and Culture : Crafts


35 new products were included in the Tribes India catalogue over the past week. Key among them are the dhokra style metal work.


  • The term “Dhokra” has been named after the Dhokra Damar tribes, the traditional metalsmiths from West Bengal and Odisha.

The Bastar region of Chhattisgarh is the most important centre of Dhokra Craft.

  • This ancient art form has been known to the people of India since the Indus Valley Civilization.

Dhokra UPSC



  • Dhokra is a non-ferrous metal casting style which uses the lost-wax technique.
  • This style of metal casting has been in vogue in all parts of India for centuries.

The dhokra products reflect the simplicity and motifs of tribal and folk life and make for excellent gifting options.

  • Hence they are popular both in India and abroad.

Among the dhokra products being introduced on Tribes India are attractive statues of fish, elephants and hangers in the boat jail design from the Lohra tribes of Jharkhand.

  • Dhokra art is essentially stunning metal figurines fashioned from bronze and copper based alloys using a ‘lost wax casting’ known as ‘cire perdue’ in French.
  • There are several processes involved in the making of Dhokra art and hence, a single piece could take up to a month or two to be created.


  • While Dhokra art originated in West Bengal, over time the tribes moved to Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa and Chhattisgarh as well as places like Kerala and Rajasthan.
  • Hence, the art has now spread all over India.

Most Dhokra artefacts are human or animal figurines.

  • In fact, one of the earliest known lost wax casting artefacts is the legendary dancing girl of Mohenjo Daro.
  • The tribes are also known for making measuring bowls, religious deities and lamps etc.
  • The themes are quite limited given the fact that the metalsmiths do not have much exposure beyond their own private lives.

Dhokra Art | UPSC


  • First off, a core, slightly smaller than the desired artefact, is created using clay.
  • It is left to dry in the sun and then given a coat of wax that is the desired thickness of the artefact.
  • The wax layer is then coated in a thin layer of clay and all of the design intricacies are carved onto this clay layer.
  • After this clay layer dries, numerous clay layers are subsequently added and dried till the mould is hard and thick enough.
  • It is then heated in order for the wax layer to melt.

Once the wax has been drained off, the molten metal is poured into the cavity through multiple channels and left to take the shape of the clay mould.

  • When the metal has cooled off and dried, the clay mould is broken off into two or three equal pieces and the metal artefact is revealed.
  • Because the mould is broken, no two Dhokra art pieces can ever look the same.

The final step in the process is applying patina to the metal object.

  • This process enhances the surface by creating colour through the application of various chemicals.
  • A final coat of wax is applied to enhance and preserve the patina.


  • It is unfortunate that this beautiful artwork is facing an obvious decline.
  • The steady increase in the cost of raw material makes the end products way too expensive to attract enough buyers.
  • As a result, artisans have been showing less interest in producing such master works.

Lack of inspiration, encouragement and knowledge of new designs as well as the inability to adapt to modernization have also contributed to the decline of this artwork.

  • The primitive techniques and lack of access to modern technology causes a delay in production.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • While there is still a heavy demand for these sculptures both commercially and in international markets, in cities like Milan, Paris and London.

The ancient science combined with tribal simplicity, skill and creativity of the craftsmen results in these amazing creations.

  • Unfortunately, the extremely time-consuming procedure, expensive raw material and limited craftsmen have caused a steep decline in the availability of Dhokra products.
     SOURCES:   PIB   | Dhokra Art | UPSC



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