Bastar region of Chattisgarh is one of the richest areas in terms of iron ore deposits. Tribal, particularly Gond and Maria, specialized themselves in extracting iron from the iron ores, thus forming ironsmith communities in the tribe. The community started catering to the needs of the tribe by providing them tools for agriculture, jungle cutting tools, arrowheads and knives for hunting. Their skill evolved with time as well as experimentation with material and technique.
Gond tribe worships ‘Budha dev’ as God, which was believed to reside in saja tree, also known as Indian laurel. The tree was used for rituals and was believed to be sacred. It was considered as a symbol of strength by the local tribes. But slowly when Gonds understood the strength of iron, they started believing that their God is in iron too. Cemented platforms were built under the tree and iron tridents, spears and chains were kept as religious symbols. Ironsmiths started experimenting with the religious art forms. They created wrought iron lamps (diya) and also decorated it with animal motifs. They started making figurines of Budha Dev riding a horse. As their art evolved with time, their work also got noticed. Ironsmiths got the opportunity to travel to places with their craft and also learn from the exposure. This resulted in more experimentation with the forms and sizes. This can be seen in the current form of the craft where an animal is depicted in various postures and sizes.