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Dhokra – An Indian Art Form Which Has Survived Centuries

While most of us continue our hectic lives, tribal societies have lived for centuries in coexistence with Mother Nature. Here you get the story of Dhokra, an ancient art form with a focus on balance between people and nature, a sustainable handicraft.

Away from the noise and the hustle-bustle of the cities are hundreds of tribal communities, nestled throughout the map of India. Some of these communities are believed to be the descendants of the earliest inhabitants of the subcontinent, and have carried their cultures, folklores, and lifestyles across generations. One of these tribes is the nomadic tribe of Dhokra Damar, from which emerges the name of the famous Dhokra art tradition. 

What is Dhokra and What Makes It Unique?

Going back over 4,000 years, the Dhokra metal art form can be traced to the Harappan Civilisation. It uses the traditional technique of lost wax casting, which is an interesting process of combining copper and its alloys, mainly brass, into shapes depicting tribal life. 

Originally found in Bengal, the practice now spans across the Indian states of Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Telangana. Small artisans from these states often repurpose old brass utensils which they melt, mold, and carve into intricate designs. As the art form relies heavily upon upcycling old metal items and turning them into craftwork, in a largely sustainable practice.

Dhokra in Modern Day

The Dancing Girl of Mohenjodaro, made in the Dhokra style, is considered to be one of the defining craft works of ancient India. The art form has since then survived and thrived to become a treasured practice. Dhokra is not just about creating decor items that add a new dimension to your space but about storytelling! 

The scenes illustrated by the Dhokra artisans explore life in the forest where the human race coexists peacefully with its surroundings, as well as cultural practises of daily life and traditions in the village. The Dhokra craft often involves intricately carved shapes of animals and the tribal community taking part in festivals or a glimpse into their daily lives. It is the art of immortalising the natural simplicity of tribal practises such as enriching the everyday with glimpses from the animal kingdom and imparting cultural significance to even the smallest task.

Acquire an Exquisite Artform

While authentic, handcrafted Dhokra items may be difficult to find on the European market, we collaborated with tribal artisans in India to offer you two exquisite collections, Gleaming Drops of Dhokra and Timeless Tribal Treasures featuring jewellery and showpieces that are beautiful remembrances of a beloved artform. Responsibly sourced and produced, these collections are fascinating examples of what sustainable art looks like!

With a wide variety of necklaces to choose from, the Gleaming Drops of Dhokra truly adds a luxurious dash of gold that pairs brilliantly with the modern woman’s minimalist wardrobe. Each piece is purely handmade, a product of our skilled artisans’ desire to keep the artform alive while decorating and celebrating women worldwide. 

The second collection in this metal art form is Timeless Tribal Treasures, which has been carefully curated in collaboration with our craftsmen. Lovingly told stories and anecdotes from folk tales bring important characters and elements to life in this collection, where you see a glimpse of private moments and animals that play a key role in the Indian environment and folk tales, immortalized in metal.

Browse the collections here!