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Lot 17
 
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CHITKI AND BUTKI

BASTAR, CHHATTISGARH
MID 20TH CENTURY
Bronze and Brass
25 in (63.5 cm) high

PROVENANCE:
Private Collection, New Delhi

The district of Bastar in Chhattisgarh is a predominantly tribal region. It is famed for its wood-carvings, and terracotta and bronze sculptures. Bastar has large deposits of iron, manganese, and tin - metals essential in the casting of bronze statues. Bastar bronzes are made by members of the Ghasia caste. Deities are made for the Maria and Muria tribes, among others, who commission idols from the Ghasias. Apart from deities, the Ghasias make objects of festive and ceremonial signifi cance, and an assortment of everyday use objects including lamps, utensils, combs and hairpins. These bronzes are intricately detailed with motifs inspired by nature and the cosmos.

The coarse texture of a twisted rope or the ear of cereal crops are masterfully captured, heightening the sophistication of their casting methods. Sculptures are made using the cire perdue, or lost wax technique. A mould made from clay is left to dry in the sun. The sculptor then wraps or coils the dry mould using smoothened wax wires. Details such as facial features are carved from wax, and ornaments and clothing are added using wax threads. The torso is made first, and the head and legs are fi xed to it using bamboo sticks or solid wax. A layer of clay is added over the wax, and has channels to allow molten metal to fl ow in. The wax melts from the heat of the metal which assumes the shape of the mould. Once it solidifi es, the outer layer of clay is broken to reveal the fi nished bronze sculpture. It is believed that the supernatural powers of deities do not last forever. Priests confirm when deities have lost their power and they are then discarded and replaced with new ones, creating a constant cycle of human creativity which supports the divine.

The Bastar tribes, initially animists, developed a large and varied pantheon dominated by mother goddesses. Male gods, few in number, are forest or hill spirits, or are specifi c to clans. Shiva and Parvati are worshipped in different avatars. Danteshwari Mata, an avatar of Durga, is usually portrayed riding on an elephant and is associated with the festival of Dussehra. Jhulana Mata, a less common Gond goddess, is depicted seated on a swing. Goddess worship is central to the tribes of Bastar, who believe that appeasing them will ward off pestilence and calamities.







  Lot 17 of 68  

LIVING TRADITIONS: FOLK AND TRIBAL ART
19-20 APRIL 2017

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CHITKI AND BUTKI


 









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