The Bastars people
The Bastar is a district of South India in the state of Chattisgarh, it was an independent kingdom from the 14th century until its integration into India in 1948.
The tribal population accounts for 70% of the population of Bastar district: the main tribes are the Gonds - the Abhuj Maria and the Bhatras. Most of them have kept their traditions (cooking, clothing, festivals...) and their animist religion.
The tribes still live mainly from agriculture and forest resources (hunting, medicinal plants, wood...).
Some tribes have devoted themselves to brass statuary art for more than 4000 years. This art, also found in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar... is called Dokra.
This traditional and artisanal art has not changed for millennia (more than 4000 years) and the technique used is still that of lost wax: a rough model in clay is made and then covered with wax by the artist who will give it its final shape with its details. The whole is again covered with a clay mixture and then heated in an open hearth where a copper alloy is cast. See Blog.
The objects produced by the Dokra artists can be of usual nature: dish, candlestick... musical instruments (brass), or artistic such as jewelry, animals: horses, elephants, turtles..., or statues of men and women representing scenes of daily life and Hindu deities adopted by the tribes: Ganesh, Lakshmi, ...
Danteshwari is the mother goddess of Bastar, she is particularly celebrated during the Dussehra festival which, in September/October lasts 75 days (instead of one day in the rest of India)! All the tribes honor her in the same way as the local deities called Anga Deo (animism): Danteshwari is the tutelary goddess of the ancient kings because she protected his founder in the 14th century during a war against invaders.
: Standing, represented from the front, Danteshwari watches over. With her legs spread, in a welcoming position, her presence is imposing. The attitude is hieratic, even frozen, and her posture exudes great authority. Danteshwari protects her children.
Her head is haloed by the wheel of fire: wheel of the universe which symbolizes the cycle of life: birth/destruction. She also represents the fire that illuminates, fertilizes or destroys ignorance.
In her hands, she holds the symbols of food, grain, fertility and authority.
Her rich finery evokes times of ceremonies, the necklaces are richly decorated but discreet, her headdress is imposing.
The chasing work is refined.
Magnificent and rare statue of Danteshwari, imposing, representative of tribal art: Danteshwari, the mother goddess, the Shakti, watches over. The whole sculpture gives off a great strength that implies respect. A dive into the Bastar tribal world of central India: invite the sacred into your interior