Friday, June 9, 2023
West Bengal

Arts & Crafts of West Bengal

▪ Introduction ▪ Mangalghat ▪ Lakshmi Ghat ▪ Manasa Ghat ▪ Tulsimancha
▪ Bara -Murti ▪ Harhi ▪ Pressed-nose Dolls ▪ Kalasi Kankhe Putul
▪ Patua-made Dolls ▪ Putul(dolls) ▪ Bankura Pottery ▪ Krishnanagar Pottery

Dakshin Roy's Head - 'Bara - Murti'

Another interesting piece of pottery which is basically a Ghat or vase, shaped into the figure of a local village deity is Bara - murti. This is also a vase upside down. The upper part is elongated into the form of a leaf with painted leaves and flowers on it and below it on the round surface the face of Barathakur is drawn. It is commonly worshiped in pair and also sold by potters in pair, of which one is God Bara and the other, his consort Narayani. In the Narayani ghat the moustache is absent. Eyes, eyebrows, moustache and beard are all sharply painted by brush. The worship of this Bara - murti is widely prevalent in the south of 24 Parganas district, where almost in every village the rituals are observed on a mass scale during the last day of Bengali month Pous and the first of Magh, corresponding to 14-15 January. The painted terracotta heads of Bara is placed under trees in pairs. Locally Bara is popularly known as the severed head of 'Dakshin Roy' who is a tiger-god. It is one of the most popular people's God in south 24 Parganas, associated with an environment of forest, which is likely to be the Sunderbans.

Marriage - Ritual vessels (Harhi)

In marriage ceremonies, vessels of different shapes and sizes are necessary for sending gifts to bride's and bridegroom's houses, especially varieties of sweets. Earthen vessels were used in the past because it were considered more sacred and auspicious than glass-pots or metal-pots. Of these earthen vessels some interesting varieties are found in Bankura, Midnapore and Murshidabad, which are painted and decorated. Harhis are not painted in all places and even where these are painted, the painting is not done by the professional potters of Kumbhakar caste, but by Patuas or scroll-painters, as in Midnapore (Narajol). In Bankura, the vessels are not painted by brush, but etched and engraved with pointed needles by potters (generally women). The designs are geometric and symbolic. Fish is a common subject in all drawings on these auspicious vessels. The Patuas paint flowers and leaves with fish. The other designs are of trees and flowers, symbolically executed.

Formerly in some areas these vessels were painted with different scenes of marriage ceremony like palanquin with bride and bridegroom, reception of the bride after marriage at her father-in-law's house etc. The composition of the scenes was done with colour. Such painted vessels are not found now. The potters and also their patrons have vanished from the social scene. Some fragments and survivals of this unique piece of pottery can be traced in the store rooms of the old, landed aristocracy in Murshidabad mainly for whom, the potters produced these painted terracotta vessels.

Putul (Dolls)

The dolls are usually made by pressing and moulding methods. Now-a-days these are mostly prepared in mould. The mould may be prepared in parts and on each mould - piece the required quantity of clay is firmly pressed to get the intended shape and look. Clay paste is used for joining together the moulded parts. Then the object is dried, burnt and painted by brush.

Mica - coated Red Dolls are made by moulding method. It is found in Howrah district : Puilya, Tantiberai, Tulsiberai and Sariyala - Balipota and in Midnapore.