The Bastars people
Bastar is a district of South India in the state of Chattisgarh, it was an independent kingdom from the 14 th
century until its integration into India in 1948.
The tribal population represents 70% of the population of the Bastar district: the main tribes are the Gonds - the Abhuj Maria and the Bhatras. Most have kept their tradition (culinary art, dress, parties ...) and their animist religion.
The tribes still live mainly from agriculture and resources drawn from the forest (hunting, medicinal plants, wood ...).
Some tribes have dedicated themselves to brass statuary art
for over 4000 years. This art, which is also found in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar ... is called Dokra.
This tribal Indian art has not changed for millennia (more than 4000 years) and the technique used is always that of lost wax: a coarse clay model is made and then covered with wax by the artist who will give it its final form with its details. The whole is again covered with a clay mixture and then heated in an open hearth where a copper alloy will be poured. see Blog
Objects produced by Dokra artists can be of a usual nature: cup, candle holder ... musical instruments (brass), or artistic such as jewelry, animals: horses, elephants, turtles ... Then it can be statues of men and women representing scenes of daily life and Hindu deities adopted by the tribes: Ganesh, Lakshmi, ...
The elephant takes on a primordial aspect of tribal life in the forest in India, both in symbolic terms (strength, wisdom, etc...) and in everyday life (impact on work, etc...). The artist has chosen to sculpt the elephant with an immeasurably long body which gives him an impression of surprising lightness ...: the legs, the trunk are finely executed, the tail very long. The animal loses all its heaviness and adopts a slender appearance!
The elephant is presented richly decorated, typical of Indian ornaments at the time of a party, during a parade, where it is covered with multiple richly colored fabrics, flowers ... It carries in its trunk a lotus which symbolizes the maternal womb (origin of life) and wisdom: the knowledge which leads to awakening, purity (and therefore the transformation which allows the expression of beauty in a marshy environment), peace.
Beauty and simplicity