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, clothing, festivals) 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. Visit my 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 ..., statues of men and women representing scenes of daily life and Hindu deities adopted by the tribes: Ganesh, Lakshmi, ...
The head of this woman seems very small in proportion to her bust which reinforces the impression of deep interiority
. A temporal pause. The face is peaceful, the hair pulled back ends in a bun on the left side typical of tribal women. The hairstyle is decorated with very discreet flowers. A headband made of shells surrounds the forehead. Two scarification marks are visible on each cheek.
The bust is richly decorated by the artist. Large necklaces adorn her chest, giving an extra touch of femininity.
The essential is expressed in a few strokes giving a crude, strong expression.