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 statues art for over 4000 years. This art, which is also found in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar ... is called Dokra.
Dokra art: a thousand-year-old knowledge in the manufacture of statues
This traditional and artisanal 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 ..., statues of men and women representing scenes of daily life and Hindu deities adopted by the tribes: Ganesh, Lakshmi ...
Posture Standing upright, camped on her feet, this Bastar woman is dressed in her festive Attributes : a magnificent headband on her forehead made from shells falling on her forehead and eyes, a feathered headdress, several necklaces. The Jewelry express wealth, this woman wears more than 5 necklaces, one very large in silver and the other which goes down to her navel which is decorated with pieces as well as bracelets (handles and ankles ). On the other hand, a simple loincloth dresses her.
The hair is shown perfectly combed, pulled back with a typically tribal bun hairstyle.
Although the legs are slightly bent, it is the static aspect that dominates: left hand on the hip, right hand holding the scepter well planted in the ground: this woman has a queen's bearing and gives off great power.
The craftsman favored simple work, highlighting the strong presence of this woman.
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