WEST BENGAL : CENTRES OF HANDICRAFTS

 

West Bengal heritage of handicrafts is legendry. The exquisite texture of Baluchari Sarees, Silk and Tasar Textile from Murshidabad, Birbhum, Bankura, Hoogly and Nadia districts have become the Choice of the Century. The fascinating handloom textiles of the same regions as mentioned above are now attracting world-wide attention. Besides the garment materials, jute products, wood and cane products, conch-shell products, brass wares and folk dolls and handicrafts belonging to different schools of art as Dokra art etc. Now embellish a large many drawing rooms. The salient point, however, to be noted in this context, is that each of these schools. In spite of their contiguity has maintained its own distinguishing features down the ages. The handicrafts items are widely marketed by Manjusha, a state Government owned emporia and other establishments as well

Different categories of West Bengal handicrafts and their main centres are as follows :

  • Masks
  • Terracotta
  • Dhokra
  • Rag dolls
  • Solapith
  • Cane & bamboo
  • Woodcarvings
  • Textile

Masks : Mask is a three dimensional facial portrait used as a covering for the face either as a protective screen or disguise. Being an important part of the theatre craft, wooden masks of West Bengal are an important part of the social and cultural activities of the state. Mask or Mukhosh, has a mysterious history, too vague to be chronicled in perfect sequence, both in terms of advent and influence.  Rumour has it that in ancient time the witches started the practice of wearing the masks. In an attempt to camouflage, the witches built a sublime weapon, a facial veil that prevented them from getting exposed.  These were colorful ornate faces made from wood or paper, a bait to attract innocent people, who were then sacrificed with the belief that their life span would be transferred to the witches grating them immortality. In Bengal places like Jalpaiguri, cooh Bihar, West dinajpur, Malda, Nadia, North and South 24 parganas are well known for masks craft.

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