Chhaanch Nogori mold town: revival of metal craft in Dhamrai, Bangladesh
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Dhamrai has been the place of creativity for centuries. It has a rich history of artistic creativity tracing back to the Pala Dynasty (800-1100AD). During this time both early Buddhist and Hindu settlements had flourished. Some of the most beautiful crafts like metal casting, pottery, terracotta work etc. have been flourished in this region for decades. It had once been a centre for metal crafts where nearly every family used unique 2000 year old techniques to create the art. Their work ranged from producing everyday use items like culinary to religious idols of both Buddhism and Hinduism. However, the current situation is very different from what it had been. Over the past fifty years, many of the families in Bangladesh who were involved in the metal casting trade have taken on other work. Currently only 5 families remain in this trade. Instead of the 30 villages once spread across the Dhamrai-Shimulia region. It has now decreased to only Dhulivita road in Dhamrai pourashova and its adjacent regions. The main reasons behind this downfall are: lesser interest of the local Muslim population, availability of cheaper alternatives such as machine-made aluminum and plastic products, being expensive and time-consuming due to high dependency on skills, having very narrow market exposure, lack of proper government support, nonavailability of institutional finance and bureaucratic hassles. This project aims to shed light on the importance of revival of almost-extinct art form via providing a platform for the remaining metal artisans while reviving the metal craft and the old structures still standing along the Dhulivita road. The research methods used to gather information are semi-structured interviews, surveys and field study as a bottom-up approach is proposed to get the maximum outcome. The combination of both knowledge and creativity of this community with the little help of training and awareness can not only enrich our heritage but also attempt to save the lost art before it disappears completely.