Friday, July 2, 2010

Gambhira Mask of Dinajpur, Malda

THE CRAFT OF mask making in West Bengal is closely related to the folk dance forms,such as the ritual dance masks of Darjeeling,Gambhira masks of Maldah and chhau masks of Purulia.The former two are made of wood,the latter is made out of papier-mache using moulds.Gambhira dance and gamdbhira songs were quite popular in Dinajpur and Maldah district of Bengal.Lord Shiva,is also known as Gambhir and Gambhir was originally celebrated as a puja,worship.The dance is a combination of narrative,song and music whihc resembles a folk play.The performers wear gambhira masks.The play is enacted by the character of a grandfather who narrates the story to a grandson character and the refrain is sung by a chorus. Gambhira reflects contemporary social problems.The folk dance is performed to the accompaniment of folk instruments such as the harmonium,flute,drum and judi.The masks are made from locally available wood of mango,gambhari and neem trees.The circumference of the log to be carved into a mask has to be around two feet.The craftsperson according to his imagination carves the mask and then paints it with bright colours.
Ajit Sarkar is one of the revered craftperson of this gambhira mask making.
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