I first came across this art while visiting a friend’s place in Jabalpur. The magnificent Nandi intrigued me for long as it added so much drama to the living space. As I turned around, I could see small figurines looking straight into my eyes and finally, depiction of a wedding procession made out of Bell metal took my breath away.. I thanked my friend for introducing me to this art form in the best compiled manner.
One of the traditional art that has come up in a big way in recent years, Bastar art originally comes from the villages of Bastar Division of Chattisgarh.
The distinctive style of the art stands out and constant variation by artisans assist in sustaining the age old art form in the present day market where it is appreciated by the audience and connoisseurs of art, both for its modern lines and for its traditional depiction of figures.
On a road trip of Chattisgarh, I was astounded by the untouched raw beauty of the state as it is largely unexplored. One comes across many tribal art forms as it dominates the village life and old art work is strewn around which is a delight for the art travelers. This place boasts about art work other than bell metal like terracotta figurines and Warli paintings. I spotted this old miniature house made out of terracotta kept under a tree.
Some people believe that this art dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization, as few metal art pieces have been found in Harappa and other excavation sites, and in present day times it is extensively practiced in the regions of Chattisgarh especially Bastar. This is also known as Dhokra art as it uses lost wax technique or hollow casting.
The famous Chitrakote falls
The inspiration is generally taken from the surroundings and the work has intricate patterning involved at the initial stage. Some craftsmen have been rewarded for their exquisite work and I am standing in one of the houses in Kondagaon witnessing the work in progress. Dhokra name is given to this work by the makers who belong to a tribe known as Dhokra Damar. Beeswax along with cow dung, hay and red soil constitutes the important raw materials.
This art is one of the most sought out art form of the present times, mainly because of its uniqueness and the different takes of the makers. The pieces come in all shapes, sizes and this gives the customer a wide variety of choice in collecting them. The best part about it is that the figures especially the flat ones are very versatile. They can be collected and simply framed or used to embed in furniture pieces. Hope you are able to find the pieces of your choice. They do give a different dimension to gifting ideas. If nowhere else then ‘Central Cottage Industries Emporium’ has got some exquisite collection both artifacts as well as furniture.
Meet ‘Mithu’..a speaking parrot in one of the artisan’s house, Kondagaon.
Happy Decorating :))