A 1200 years old tradition survives in 30 villages around Dhamrai and can be traced back to the Pala Dynasty (800-1100 AD), during which time both early Buddhist and Hindu settlements once flourished. It is also known as a ‘Workshop of Metal Arts and Crafts in Dhamrai’. This aspect of history is explicitly reflected in each of the metal crafts produced in Dhamrai.
The artisans of the Dhamrai area practice four traditional handmade processes, lost wax method, clay casting, sand casting and hammering. Among all these, the old wax method is very demanding and practicing only by a handful of artists. In the downwards of this article, a brief of lost wax model is being described.
Metal Crafting is one of the oldest traditions in Bangladesh. Previously, there were more than 200 workshops, but now there may be 10 workshops still remaining in Dhamrai. Generation after generation it is still existing as a traditional profession. Just seventy years back, people lived through a quiet rural township. Among other natural ones, they listen to the clanging sound of metal workers, blacksmiths and artisans that made up a wonderful rhythm of beautiful working melodies.
The existence of metal crafts certainly being an important part of old Bengal’s artistic tradition that dates back to over 2000 BC on the Indian peninsula. History shows that some of the greatest metal craft masterpieces of the ancient time were made here by skilled artisans and sculptors that were magnificent in design, exclusivity details and workmanship. In fact only a few in our society, nowadays, are aware of the fact that one of the main centres of such metal crafts of the sub-continent had been on this soil where only a few artisans still have been toiling to their most to revive this millennium-old art-form.
Traditionally Hindus and in lesser proportion Buddhists were the main force behind this metal art who articulated their religious and social imaginations, beliefs and messages through the artifacts. In ancient Bengal, Dhamrai was a small rural township about 40 km northwest of Dhaka and predominantly a Hindu inhabited area, and its adjacent region were the center of metal crafts where almost every family was involved in this art form using some unique 2000 year old techniques. For generations, they had been making beautiful metal objects using a variety of techniques.
These metal objects, ranging from everyday used items like culinary to religious idols of both Buddhism and Hinduism, are not only unique artworks, but also represents the centuries-old tradition of craftsmanship. Although the traditional metal industry once existed in other parts, Dhamrai had been the epic entry for centuries due to the quality, workmanship and aesthetic appeal attached to its wares. While in the early 1950’s people of about 30 villages in Dhamrai-Shimulia region were in this trade but as the artisans left now only around five families, against all adversities, are trying their best to keep this trade moving.
Lost-wax casting (also called “investment casting”, “precision casting”, or cire perdue in French) is the process by which a duplicate metal sculpture (often silver, gold, brass or bronze) is cast from an original sculpture. Dependent on the sculptor’s skills, intricate works can be achieved by this method. The oldest known examples of this technique are the objects discovered in the Cave of the Treasure (Nahal Mishmar) hoard in southern Israel, and which belong to the Chalcolithic period (4500–3500 BCE). Conservative Carbon 14 estimates date the items to c. 3700 BCE, making them more than 5700 years old. Though the process today varies from foundry to foundry, the steps used in casting small bronze sculptures are fairly standardized. (In modern industrial use, the process is called investment casting.) Variations of the process include: “lost mould”, which recognizes that materials other than wax can be used (such as: tallow, resin, tar, and textile) and “waste wax process” (or “waste mould casting”), because the mould is destroyed to remove the cast item. Lost-wax casting was widespread in Europe until the 18th century, when a piece-moulding process came to predominate.
South Asia: Metal casting by the Indus Valley Civilization began around 3500 BCE in the Mohenjodaro area, which produced one of the earliest known examples of lost-wax casting, an Indian bronze figurine named the “dancing girl” that dates back nearly 5,000 years to the Harappan period (c. 3300–1300 BCE). Other examples include the buffalo, bull and dog found at Mohenjodaro and Harappa, two copper figures found at the Harappan site Lothal in the district of Ahmedabad of Gujurat,and likely a covered cart with wheels missing and a complete cart with a driver found at Chanhudaro.
During the post-Harappan period, hoards of copper and bronze implements made by the lost-wax process are known from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. Gold and copper ornaments, apparently Hellenistic in style, made by cire perdue were found at the ruins at Sirkap. One example of this Indo-Greek art dates to the 1st century BC, the juvenile figure of Harpocrates excavated at Taxila. Bronze icons were produced during the 3rd and 4th centuries, such as the Buddha image at Amaravati, and the images of Rama and Kartikeya in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. A further two bronze images of Parsvanatha and a small hollow-cast bull came from Sahribahlol, Gandhara, and a standing Tirthankara (2nd, 3rd century AD) from Chausa in Bihar should be mentioned here as well. Other notable bronze figures and images have been found in Rupar, Mathura (in Uttar Pradesh) and Brahmapura, Maharashtra.
Gupta and post-Gupta period bronze figures have been recovered from the following sites: Saranath, Mirpur-Khas (in Pakistan), Sirpur (District of Raipur), Balaighat (near Mahasthan now in Bangladesh), Akota (near Vadodara, Gujurat), Vasantagadh, Chhatarhi, Barmer and Chambi (in Rajesthan). Producing images by the lost-wax process reached its peak from 750 to 1100, and still remained prevalent in south India between 1500 and 1850. The technique was used throughout India, as well as in the neighboring countries Bangladesh,Nepal,Tibet, Srilanka & Myanmar.
It’s very easy & comfortable to move on Dhamrai from Dhaka. Basically, there are a number of vehicles go Dhamrai from Gulistan. You can take any of those, which will take you at Dhulivita Bus Stop at Dhamrai. In Dhulivita, there are many auto rickshaw & Rickshaws available to move toward Dhamrai Bazar. Catch one to be there.
ঢাকা (০) জিরো পয়েন্ট থেকে ঢাকা-আরিচা জাতীয় মহাসড়ক পথে ধামরাই উপজেলা পরিষদের দূরত্ব (প্রায় ৩৮কিঃমিঃ)
আরিচা থেকে ঢাকা আরিচা জাতীয় মহাসড়ক পথে ধামরাই উপজেলা পরিষদের দূরত্ব (প্রায় ৫০কিঃমিঃ)
নবীনগর হতে ঢুলিভিটা বাস স্ট্যান্ডে আসতে বাস ভাড়া ৫ টাকা
মানিকগঞ্জ হতে ঢুলিভিটা বাস স্ট্যান্ডে আসতে বাস ভাড়া ২০ টাকা
ঢুলিভিটা স্ট্যান্ডে নেমে রিক্সা যোগে উপজেলা পরিষদে আসতে ভাড়া লাগবে ১০ টাকা।
ঢুলিভিটা স্ট্যান্ডে নেমে অটোরিক্সা যোগে উপজেলা পরিষদে আসতে ভাড়া লাগবে ০৫ টাকা।
১। ধামরাই ডাকবাংলো
পরিচালনাকারী/মালিকের নাম: উপজেলা প্রশাসন
উপজেলা/থানা/স্থানের নাম: ধামরাই
ঠিকানা: উপজেলা পরিষদ চত্ত্বর, ধামরাই, ঢাকা।
যোগাযোগ: উপজেলা নির্বাহী অফিসার, ধামরাই, ঢাকা।
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