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, ...
although holding in his hand a scepter showing his position of command and leader in the community is dressed simply: a loincloth, a turban. Jewels are present but in a very discreet way.
is well-proportioned and is much larger than the man whose legs appear very small. The ears are proudly erect: one feels a lot of nobility in this animal.
The whole of this statue reflects tribal life: a lot of simplicity, dignity (the man stands upright in the middle of his horse's back) and a great importance given to animals. Harmony with nature holds a primordial place among the animist tribes in India who cannot conceive of nature as their own. They form a whole with it and this sculpture marks this strong bond.