Origin: A lover for fine arts, literature, music and crafts moved families of potters from Dhaka and Natore and settled them in a village called Ghurni. This lover for craft happened to be Maharaja Krishnachandra of Krishnagar!! In the 18th century, with the help of these potters, Maharaja Krishnachandra introduced the world to religious ‘Dolls of West Bengal’. The Dolls of West Bengal are engraved with 250 years of inspiring history. Back in the day, these mystic dolls were crafted only for religious purposes. These dolls whisper the tales of Collectors court, Tea Garden, Pandit Sabha, Bride and Groom, Charak festival.
Present Day: Today, artistants dip their hands into clay to make dolls for commercial purposes. More than 300 inhabitants of Krishnanagar have dedicated their life to this craft. The households of Krishnanagar are sparkling with women, men and children all coming together to keep this art form alive.The very talented doll making artisans are addressed as Kumbhakaras - Kumbhakara consists of two words kumbha (earthen pot) and akar (to form).This art form is steeped in the families of rural Bengal and is transferred from one generation to another.
Procedure: The process of doll-making includes mixing of raw materials that is clay, with different types of soil, sponge wood are mixed together and the desired shape is given. The unfinished product is then dried in sun. At times the unfinished product is also made using metal wires. Metal Wire is used to lend structure and posture to product. Once the product has dried, details are added to it using tools like Chirage, Basua, Knives, Scraper and brushes. After this the craft is polished and painted with paints derived from vegetable and mineral extracts.
Exhibitions of these mesmerizing dolls have been held in many parts of the globe including London, Paris and Boston. It holds huge export potential.
Bring Home Dolls of West Bengal: This art form is praised by art lovers for its distinctive expression and detailing. This art form is promoted extensively at different fairs and emporiums across West Bengal. Therefore, you can buy them from fairs and handicraft shops across Bengal. You can also find these dolls at river Jalangi.