Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ivory artisans of Murshidabad3, মুর্শিদাবাদের হাতির দাঁতের কারিগর৩


হাতির দাঁতের কারিগরদের কর্মশালা ১৮৫১র ছবি

The first thing the carver does is to cut a block of
ivory of sufficient bulk for the article required. On this a
tracing of the object to be carved is drawn in pencil, but
sometimes the design is sketched on paper. A clever workman
can carve without any preliminary sketch, if the article to be
manufactured is one which he is accustomed to carve. After this,
the model is roughly shaped by means of chisels, large and small,
according to the size of the parts to be chiselled oil. Then files of
different sizes and fineness are employed to work the model into a
finer shape, and drills of different sizes are used to drill holes for
perforated work. Finishing touches are given with an iron
stylus, which the carvers call by tbe common name for a pen,

kalam. The kalams are of vaiious degrees of fineness, some as fine
as needles and others like knives or sketch-erasers. When the
model has been brought exactly to the designed shape, it is soaked
in water for some time, and the surface is polished, first with fish
scales and lastly with common chalk. For fastening figures
into stands and for joining parts, email ivory pegs are used.
For turning, a heavy lathe is used. When they have to carve
from a new pattern, and they find that none of their existing
tools are suitable or fine enough for the work, the Bhaskars will
at once improvise a suitable tool, in the middle of their
work.

The following list of the articles produced by the carvers is
given in Mr. Gr. C. Dutt's Monograph on Ivory Carving in Bengal.
Formerly they supplied a local demand for images of the gods,
but now for the most part turn out an assortment of table orna-
ments and knick-knacks, mainly for the European market : -

হাতির দাঁতের কাজ করা আসবাবপত্র, লন্ডনের একটি নিলাম সংস্থার ছবি


no
Articles
prices
Remarks
1
2
3
4
1
Alphabet
1 to 1½ annas per letter

2
Durga(the ten handed goddess, with her attendant gods and goddesses in the act of fighting with the giant Mahisasura)
Rs. 50 to Rs.300
The best article that can be made from one block of ivory can be had for Rs. 150.
3
Kali standing on the body of Shiva with two attendant goddesses
40 to 120
The price varies according to the size of the pieces, and also according to the quality of the work
4
Jagaddhatri standing on the lion and elephant with two attendant goddesses
50 to 125
5
Jagannath’s car procession
50 to 150
6
Palanquin, single or with bearers and attendants
15 to 100
7
Chessman
25 to 250
8
Work-box
25 to 300
9
Elephant, single or caparisoned, or fighting with tiger
5 to 150
10
Horse, plain or with rider
2 to 30
11
Bullock-carts
8 to 50
12
Maur-pankhi, or peacock state barge
10 to 100
13
Camel, single or with driver
4 to 40
14
Cow, single or with calf
3 to 20
15
Dog
2 to 8
16
Pig
2 to 10
17
Buffalo
3 to 20
18
Crocodile
5 to 20
19
Deer
2 to 15
20
Plough with ploughman
3 to 20
21
Locket and chain(with or without gold or silver mounting)
5 to 50
22
Earrings
4 to 10
23
Figures of zanana ladies. Hindu priests, washermen, water carriers, peons, porters, tailors, sepoys, fakirs, policemen
2 to 5 each
24
Paper cutter
1 to 30
25
Bangles, bracelets with or without gold or silver mountings
25 and upwards
26
Card case
6 to 15
27
Knitting needles
8 anna for set of four
28
Crochet needles
Do
29
Napkin ring
2 to 8
30
Photo frame
15 to 60
31
Caskets
30 to 100
32
Walking sticks
25 to 75
33
Chamurs or fly-flap
--
34
Combs
---

" The above list," writes Mr. G. C. Dutt, " is by no means
exhaustive. The Murshidabad carvers turn out various other toys
and trinkets, and of mythological subjects there is, perhaps, no
end. Only one mythological figure the Murshidabad Bhaskars
will not carve or sell, and that it is that of Krishna, as they are
his followers * and cannot create or sell the deity they worship.
Although the Murshidabad carvers can carve any practicable
model of almost every useful and ornamental object, it must not
be supposed that there is a regular supply of all these things
in the market, nor should one expect to find many such objects
in daily use anywhere, except, perhaps, the bangles and combs
which are worn by up-country and Deccan women generally.
There is usually but a limited and fitful outturn-."

* They belong to the Vaishnava sect.
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