A Culture Apart IN BENGAL
WEST Bengal inherits a rich tradition of handicraft industries. The products of handicrafts with its myriad forms and designs, its imaginative concept, the flawless execution, its splendour and loveliness, from the primitive Dokra casting to sophisticated Baluchari sarees and Terracotta, will continue to provide utilitarian aesthetic enjoyment to their users and connoisseurs. In UPSC many questions are asked based on the cultural of many states of India , for this in UPSC syllabus it is mention that for IAS exams and civil services exams every states culture have to be read must.
More than five lakh craftsmen are engaged in handicrafts in the state. Important craft items are: terracotta, dokra, brass and beilmetal, co¬conut shell work, wood carving, horn crafts, shola crafts, glass work, lac products, cane & bamboo crafts, zari work, mask-making, artistic leather, jute handicrafts, mat, embroidery, kantha stitch, hand batik, fabric painting, folk painting, hill handicrafts, sitalpati, silver filigree, etc.
The art of clay moulding is perhaps as old as man himself. Pottery produced by the potters is considered as the document of religious culture and the history of art, is called the lyric of handi¬crafts because of its irresistible and universal appeal.
Traditional potters, with their inherent skills and artistic sense are now manufacturing more than a thousand varieties of clay and terracotta products having religious, utility and crafts value. About 10,000 artisans are engaged in such activities. Most of these artisans are lo-cated in Bankura and Nadia districts. Clay work of Kumartuli in Kolkata is highly acclaimed.
Handlooms of West Bengal is an important voca¬tion, providing a large number of employment in the rural areas. Lakhs of weavers with tradi¬tional skill are engaged in manufacturing not only sarees but also other dress materials like furnishings, scarves, stoles, etc. Needle-work by the skilled women of Bengal on natural silk and art silk is also an important craft of the state.
The brass and sheet metal work of Bengal is a highly evolved craft, perfected by generations
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of skilled craft persons. Traditionally, more than 4,000 artisan families in the districts of Midna- pore, Nadia, Murshidabad, Bankura, Purulia and Malda are engaged in this craft.
The Dokra or Dhokra, a group of nomadic tribal craftsmen who travelled through Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, have given the state a timeless heritage of beautifully shaped and ornamented products of cast metals. The system of metal casting followed by the Dokra artisans is said to be the oldest form of metal casting and is technically known as ‘cire perdue’ or lost wax process. The ethnic purity of Dokra metal craft figures or birds and animals specially owls, peacocks, horses, fish and ele-phants, images of divinities, lamps, caskets, measuring bowls and other highly individualistic creations have created great demand among the collectors here and abroad. About 157 fam¬ilies are engaged in the crafts, scattered in the districts of Bankura, Burdwan and Midnapore.
Sutradhars, the traditional wood carvers of Ben¬gal, are still engaged in producing various types of decorative and utility products, which are noted for their impressive form and elegant sim¬plicity. Among the outstanding wood carvings of Bengal are the one-piece owl and deities of Natungram in Burdwan district and sandalwood carvings of Murshidabad.
Bengal has enough traditional skills and raw materials for manufacture of various types of leather and leather products. Leather tanning, footwear, artistic leather goods, etc are the tradi¬tional industries of the state. These products have received acclamation from the domestic users and have a ready market in foreign shores.
Filigree and filigrain work in gold and silver thread is part of Bengal’s rich craft heritage. More than 3,000 artisans in South 24 Paraganas are experts in filigree work and silver jewellery
work known as ‘gazra’ in local paralance.
Bamboo & Cane work West Bengal has a very rich tradition in creating fancy articles from bamboo and cane. More than 6,000 families practise this craft in different districts of Bengal.
The use of animal horn for various ornamental and decorative purposes is perhaps as old as the civilisation itself. In shining black and translu¬cent sheds of grey, Bengal horn has fascinated the tourists. Combs, buttons, pen-holders, nap¬kin-rings, spoons, walking sticks, fork and knife handles, etc are manufactured by using horn. About 1,300 artisan families in the villages of Midnapore are engaged in this craft.
Jute, the golden fibre, has traditionally been wo¬ven, knotted and braided by women of Bengal for domestic usages. Today, the craftsmen are manufacturing a wide range of jute handicrafts like jute blended carpets, decorative, garden pot hangings, handbags, etc. About 2,000 families are engaged in this craft in different districts of Bengal.
Bengal is famous for its solapith items, which are traditional crafts peculiar to Bengal having its origin in the rituals and religious requirements of old days, ‘Solapith’ the core of a plant that grows wild in the wetmarsh lands of Bengal are used by the craftsmen to produce varieties of in¬tricate products like ornament boxes, decorative hangings, wall panels, animal and human fig¬ures, etc. About 500 artisan families are en-gaged in shola crafts in different parts of Burd¬wan, Birbhum, Nadia and Murshidabad districts.
Gold, precious stones, silver, brass and zinc al¬loys are the main metals used in the making of jewellery in West Bengal. ‘Swankars’, the caste involved in jewellery making are revered all over the world for their skill and craftsmanship.
West Bengal is also famous for many IT industries there like many Web designing company and many SEO company etc.