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Krishnanagar clay Durga, a work of art and a piece of history

16 July, 2022 16:44:05
Krishnanagar clay Durga, a work of art and a piece of history

You may think there’s nothing more to be said or written about the clay dolls of Krishnangar, considering how famous they already are in India and abroad. And yet, the master artisans of this town in Nadia district surprise us every time with their innovative ideas, outstanding skill, and dedication.

If we were asked to choose any one representative of Bengal’s rich heritage of doll making, Krishnanagar clay dolls would probably be it. Not merely for their aesthetic appeal, for which there may be other contenders, but for the sheer weight of history behind them.

The clay dolls of Krishnanagar date back to the reign of the renowned Maharaja Krishnachandra (1710-83), who helped the British East India Company against Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah in the Battle of Plassey in 1757. The king was a known patron of the arts, including literature and music, and encouraged the local craft of clay doll making. In 1728, he invited families of potters from Dhaka and Natore (in modern Bangladesh) to settle in Ghurni, which would go on to become the heart of Krishnanagar’s clay doll industry. 

Buy Krishnanagar clay Durga online from The Bengal Store - Click Here

What makes these dolls unique? A number of things, but chiefly their designs, colours, techniques and amazing range. From fruits and vegetables to animals to people from all walks of daily life to gods and goddesses, there is seemingly nothing the artisans of Krishnanagar cannot portray through their craft. Add to that the range of styles, from realistic to geometric, that are employed, depending on the subject.

The Durga idol you see here is a remarkable example of highly contemporary stylisation and the fine finish that has given Krishnanagar dolls so much of their reputation. Note the almost tribal look of the goddess, and the detailing of her hair, garments, and jewellery, all of it intended to convey a primitive, non-urban feel. And then contrast her carefully expressionless face to the distinctive expressions on the faces of the buffalo and lion beneath her feet.

The look and feel mark a delightful departure from the brightly coloured and realistic creations that most people identify as typically Krishnanagar. And yet, in its crafting and making, it remains rooted in tradition.

By supporting the art of the clay doll makers of Krishnanagar, you support an irreplaceable part of Bengal’s heritage. So get your clay Durga idol from our stock now, and enrich your home with not just a piece of fine art, but a slice of history.

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