Fish-shaped Container

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in eastern India, India, Asia
Made in Bihar, India, Asia
or made in West Bengal, Bengal Region, India, Asia
or made in Odisha, India, Asia

20th century

Metal alloy resin-thread technique, a regional variation of lost-wax casting (dhokra)

2 3/8 x 1 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches (6 x 3.8 x 16.5 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1994

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This container was made using the dokra technique, in which thin cords of wax-like resin are wrapped around a clay core and then coated with an outer layer of thinner clay. When molten metal replaces the resin and the clay is removed, the resulting piece retains the lattice-like structure of the wrapped cords. Traditionally, women supplied scrap metal to artisans who melted them into dokra images such as deities, animals, coin purses, and ornamental cooking utensils. The women then used these dokra wares in their homes, especially on their home altars. Often the motifs women included in their own art, such as embroidered quilts (kanthas) and ritual paintings, reflect the distinctive crisscross, pierced, or spiraling shapes of dokra objects.