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
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.