Wednesday, April 1, 2009

SholaPith(SpongeWood)

SholaPith is a kind of very light pithy reed found in the marsh lands of Eastern India. The Craftsmen or 'malakars' work with their special iron knives or 'kath' to fashion intricate objects out of it. The core of this reed, which is pure white in colour, is exposed when the outer layer of the stalk is shaved. The core is light, porous, soft, and pliable and can be shaped to suit the imagination of the artisan. Skilled craftsmen shape this reed into many objects: scaled down models of temples, churches and mosques, carved images of Gods/Goddess (like Durga, Kali, Ganesh and so on), marriage headgear ("Topor" & "Mukut"), flowers and garlands, toys and mobiles are all crafted from this reed. Apart from toys and images, big and small, some shola-pith craftsmen also create items that form an integral part of most of the major religious rituals - mainly in the form of "Solar Saaj" - which is the ornamentation and decoration for sacred images. This latter form uses foils, sequins, beads or artificial pearls mounted on cupboard. Since these foils were once used to be imported from Germany by post or 'dak' the decoration came to be known as "Daker Saaj".
Bengal is famous for it's sholapith items for marriages & festivals and serve as decoration items for wall hangings etc.
The north Bengal sholapith workers mainly from the Rajbansi community use to curve monoshar monjusha during the auspicious Manosha Puja. There are another kind of Opodebotas(lesser-gods) are made at that time called Maashan.
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