Bastar Iron Art - Beautifully handcrafted ironworks from Chhattisgarh

This traditional art form - undertaken for generations by the Bastar tribe - has long been a firm favorite in local markets. Also known as Pitva Art, this art work continues to grow in popularity and is used to create a range of pieces such as sculptures, masks, decorative artefacts, and utility items like tea light holders, wall hooks and so on. The possibilities are endless and depends on the imagination of the artisans. This artform is used to reflect traditional village life and the sights one can expect to uncover there.

Traditionally, the materials used in this craft are taken from scrap metals from around the home. Prior to artisans taking the craft into their own hands, farmhands in the Muria tribes would source iron directly from mines in order to manufacture farming tools. Nowadays, in the hands of a skilled artisan, they become ornaments and decorations that continue to be popular to this day, and that are adapted for modern tastes.

The trade is often known as “Loha Shilp”which literally means iron craft. The method of construction nowadays of these decorative pieces is entirely by hand. As a result, each item is 100% unique. No mass production or machines are used in the creation of this ironwork. Tribes people work with the discarded scrap metal or bits of iron, and manipulate them with tools such as chisels (Chenni), hammers (Muthli) and heat (Dhukna Sar) to create the desired item. Only rarely will they retreat to the iron mines to obtain material.

A range of production methods are used - primarily in creating either a “hollow” figure, or a “solid” one. A hollow figure is made by bending and shaping the metals into the desired shape with tools. Should a solid figure be desired, tribespeople will chisel out the required shape until it is achieved. The scrap metal will be beaten whilst hot in order to create the desired appearance. To make a joint they use Rivets. NO Welding machine, cutting machine, mold are used to make an artifact and that makes it a true handicraft. When you touch and feel the product you can see the hard work behind each and every piece.

Once the desired sculpture has taken shape, the artisan will apply an oil based protection or varnish to avoid rust and give the product its final appearance. This will ensure the artwork will remain a key feature in your home for years to come!

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