West Bengal is famous for its arts and crafts, which include Dokra metal craft, Terracotta works and various kinds of embroideries. One of the most famous handicrafts of the state comprises of the age-old pottery, which is practiced in exquisite styles, with beautiful variations. Pottery is basically prevalent in the rural parts of West Bengal, where the men and women of Kumhar community are engaged in this art. Pottery is an indigenous art that has been practiced in the state since ages. The districts of Bankura, Murshidabad and Midnapore in West Bengal are mostly famous for this art.
There are umpteen varieties of pottery in West Bengal, all of which are made up of clay, though the purposes for which they are used are varied. However, the basic requirements and procedure are almost the same for all of them. Clay is taken from various places, like river bed, ditches and pits, and combined together. The clay mixture is then fashioned on wheels, to give it the shape of the required items, which range from simple pots to exquisite idols. The items are then dried and hardened, to make them hard and stabile.
There are four famous kinds of pottery in West Bengal, viz Mangalghats, Lakshmi Ghat, Manasha Ghats and Tulsimancha. Each of them is used for a specific purpose and has its own specialty. Apart from being individually practiced, the craft is also created on a commercial basis, at the small scale industries across the state. These potteries are used for domestic and ceremonial purposes and even shown at commercial exhibitions of various art galleries, throughout the world.
Pottery in West Bengal
Mangal Ghats, as the name suggests, is the pottery meant for auspicious purposes. It is colorful and beautiful and considered to be an essential item in the conscientious Hindu homes of West Bengal. This type of pottery is also used in auspicious ceremonies, like marriages, birth rituals and other such ceremonials.
Lakshmi Ghat is the name of another kind of pottery in West Bengal, which is used only in pairs. One of the most auspicious pairs of this pottery comprises of two pots, one of which is meant for Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, and the other is meant for Lord Ganesh, the God of Wisdom.
Manasha Ghat can be described as the earthenware painted to pay homage to serpent goddess 'Manasha'. In this form of pottery, basically the face of the Goddess and the hoods of the snake are drawn, on upturned earthen jars.
Tulsimancha pottery is made up of clay as well as bricks and is adorned with various kinds of motifs, related to Gods and Goddesses. The most famous pattern of Tulsimancha comprises of the one depicting Lord Krishna and Radha.