The tribes of Bastar are famous for their arts and crafts. They were amongst, the earliest to work with metal and have expertise in making beautiful figurines of tribal Gods, animals, oil lamps and carts etc. Tribal artisans of Bastar attempt to make the imaginable, survival. Prominent among the tribal arts, is the Bastar Art, in India and outside for their unique artifacts. Wall hangings of Bastar craft grace homes and attracts the attention of art lovers.
The Bastar artifacts usually depict the rural life style for the tribal community, with pastoral scenes of farmer as the main force. They are exemplary in their natural design and different items are part of their regular life. They are the documentation of time, society and culture. The tribal artists give concrete expressions to their thoughts, ideas and imaginations while engaged in their work.
The artists of Bastar are keeping the rich tradition of their past, alive, century after century. This is to be seen in the way, they mould the clay, wood, stone and metal etc, into mind-boggling shapes, forms and designs which are attractive and alluring.
Tribals, the first metalsmiths of India, are still continuing with their ancient practice. The long and close association of the tribes with nature has culminated craft heritage which is inspiring. The raw material is sourced from surrounding environment. They use indigenous and rudimentary tools.
These tribal artists, through age-old process of metalwork, create some of the most famous tribal imagery in iron and metals, by bringing out the unique view of life with nature and Gods. There is a unique quality of rawness in the finish.
Their process is simple. It basically includes forging and hammering the metal. Using only a few tools and a simple furnace of a handful of coals, they twist and bend hot iron into expressive shapes. One’s journey to Bastar will not be complete without picking a bastar memento, (i.e. from the local self-help groups / Shabri emporium in many parts of Bastar) which is an indispensable part of the lives of the people of the areas.