Saturday, May 2, 2009


The village community halls also known as chandimandaps, which were the centres of rural culture had the best of pillars, brackets beams etc. made out of beautifully carved wood. Some of the chandimandaps can be seen at Antpur and Sripur-Balagarh in the Hooghly district and also in Ula-Birnagar in Nadia district. The examples of wood carving of West Bengal can best be seen in the wooden images of village temples. Some domestic shrines are also made of wood and beautifully carved. Carved figures in classical tradition though simple are very expressive. The style is folk and the subject includes folk gods, goddess and figures. The wood from Bel and neem is used for carving and the figures are then painted with colours. Apart from these areas one can find wood curved chandimandaps in various other parts og Bengal.
In Burdwan district, the wood carvers are known as sutradhars and are best known for huge platters and bowls which are made out of mango wood. In south Bengal, in the districts of 24-parganas and Howrah, both Hindu and Muslim community practises this craft form. Beautifully wood carved furniture is made here with teak, sisham and mahogany. Delicate and fine carving can be seen on wood panels and furnitures here. Bengal is also famous for the Raths which are made of wood and festooned with carved panels. The panels of the raths have figures carved into geometric and floral motifs. The raths usually also have a pair of horses.
Wood is widely used for making toys and decorative panels. Kalighat dolls & Natungram wood carvings are worth mentioning. Image made in wood relate back to traditional icons, deities some of them stylised to a modern look.
New materials and innovative techniques are being used by the artisans to produce useful and aesthetic products. Folk motifs and ingredients are being effectively used for a greater market other decorative itmes.
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