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    Fascinating Arts & Crafts of West Bengal that Everyone Must Know

    Fascinating Arts & Crafts of West Bengal that Everyone Must Know

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    West Bengal is a dynamic state in Eastern India and is known for its deep cultural legacy, intellectual prowess, and scenic surroundings.West Bengal is renowned for its vivacious festivals, traditional dance and music genres including Rabindra Sangeet and Baul. Bengali art and handicrafts of West Bengal have brought immense admiration to the state. The state is the birthplace of different traditional Bengali sarees which are popular throughout the country for exquisite craftsmanship.

    Kolkata, its capital, is also one of India's major cultural centres and is referred to as the "City of Joy." The beautiful Sunderbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the gorgeous Darjeeling highlands, and the tranquil beaches of Digha and Mandarmani are all part of West Bengal's varied terrain. In this blog post let us explore Bengali folk arts like the very old Terracotta art of Bengal and more.

    Different Handicrafts of West Bengal

    Let us embark on a journey to explore the diverse and vibrant handicrafts of West Bengal.

    Terracotta Art 

    Terracotta art of Bengal is among West Bengal's most well-known and historic crafts. Clay is moulded into a variety of forms and sizes in this ancient craft, which is then sun-dried and burnt in kilns. Terracotta temples and sculptures in the town of Bishnupur are renowned for their representations of mythological characters, gods, and goddesses. These artworks are incredibly captivating because of the fine details and vivid colours. Even today Terracotta is one of the most important handicrafts of West Bengal as people find Terracotta home décor items fascinating.

    Terracota

    Patachitra & Kalighat Painting

    The traditional scroll painting known as Patachitra is a live example of vibrant Bengali art and culture. The artists, known as "Patuas," illustrate mythological tales, folklore, and social messages on canvases or scrolls made of fabric or paper using natural dyes and colours. Kalighat Paintings, a Bengali folk art is enthralling due to its minute details, vivid colours, and narrative appeal.

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    Kalighat Painting - The Folk Art from Bengal

     

    Kantha Embroidery 

    Bengali women in the countryside still engage in the traditional craft of Kantha embroidery of Bengal, which is renowned for its exquisite threadwork. With the use of vibrant threads, layers of sarees are stitched together to create stunning patterns and motifs to make Kantha work sarees and other furnishing items. Today you can find this Bengali art in Kantha dupattas, blankets, Kantha bedspreads, and much more. Kantha embroidery exhibits the artistry of needlework and the ability to tell a story through the cloth.

     

    Dokra Metal Craft

    Dokra is a traditional tribal art that has its roots in the West Bengal’s districts of Bankura, Purulia, and Midnapore. This popular handicraft of West Bengaluses lost wax casting - a special method - for casting metal that can be used to make exquisite jewellery, miniatures, and home decor. Beeswax is expertly moulded into the desired shape by the craftspeople, who then cover it in clay to make a mould. The mould is then filled with molten metal, creating gorgeous and original works of art.

    Dokra metal

    Sholapith Craft

    Sholapith is a milky-white sponge-wood, that is used to create delicate and intricate handicrafts. This is one of the most beautiful handicrafts in West Bengal. Artisans carve this lightweight material into various shapes like - flowers, birds, figurines, and decorative items. Sholapith crafts are often used in religious ceremonies, weddings, and festivals, adding an ethereal charm to the celebrations.

    Picture Credit:- Pinterest/Varna
    Picture Credit:- Pinterest/Varna

    Traditional Bengali Sarees

    West Bengal is home to different types of Bengali sarees which are known for excellent craftsmanship. Traditional Bengali sarees are known for their beauty, complex patterns, and symbolic meanings. They are an essential component of the state's identity and reflect Bengal's rich past and customs. Some of the popular traditional Bengali sarees are:

    Taant Saree:  Made of fine cotton threads, these sarees are from handlooms. The term ‘Taant’ refers to handlooms and this saree is known for its thick border with zari.

    Taant Saree

    Baluchari saree: These traditional Bengali sarees are famous for their intricate silk weaving, and are native to the town of Baluchar in West Bengal. These kinds of Bengal silk sarees depict mythological scenes and historical narratives through their detailed pallus (end piece) and borders. The motifs on Baluchari sarees are woven with gold or silver threads, creating a striking contrast against the bright silk fabric. They are cherished for their grandeur and are popular choices for weddings and festive occasions.

    Picture Credit:- Pinterest

    Jamdani saree: Jamdani sarees are renowned for their meticulous weaving with delicate and elaborate patterns and motifs. Having originated in Dhaka (now in Bangladesh), these sarees are also called Dhakai Jamdani. They are painstakingly weaved on a traditional loom utilising fine cotton or silk threads.

    Jamdani sarees

    Tangail saree: The Tangail district of Bangladesh, which was originally part of the undivided Bengal, is home to the traditional handloom saree known as the Tangail. Tangail sarees are primarily woven with delicate cotton or silk threads and are famous for their complex patterns.

    Tangail saree

    Conclusion

    The intricate artistic talent and rich cultural legacy of Bengal are embodied in the handicrafts of West Bengal. Each type of handcraft, from Terracotta art of Bengal to Kantha embroidery, is an amalgamation of the monumental talent and imagination of the artisans. West Bengal enriches its cultural tapestry and gives innumerable artisans a means of support by preserving these traditional trades and Bengali art.

     

    FAQ on Handicrafts of West Bengal

    1. What is the famous craft of West Bengal?

    Some of the famous crafts of West Bengal are

    •      Terracotta art
    •      Kantha Embroidery
    •      Jamdani sarees
    •      Baluchari saree
    •      Dokra Metalcraft

         2. What is Dokra craft in West Bengal? 

    Dokra Craft from West Bengal uses non-ferrous metal casting using the lost-wax casting method. It is practised in the Bankura district of West Bengal. This is a popular kind of handicraft of West Bengal where Dokra artists cast various images of Hindu or tribal gods, and goddesses like Ma Durga, Kali etc.

         3. West Bengal is famous for which sarees?

    West Bengal is home to different  types of Bengali sarees  like

    •   Jamdani Saree
    •   Baluchari saree
    •   Taant Saree
    •   Tangail saree
    •   Kantha Stitch Saree
    •   Bishnupuri Silk Saree

     

     

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