MATERIAL USED: CLAY
By using the moulds, he prepared light weight thin crusted clay dolls, burned them in kiln put a coating of liquid chalk dust on the Terracotta dolls and finally painted them with available natural colours procured from soils and plants. Thus he started a new and unique tradition of Terracotta dolls in Bengal which is still famous as Joynagar- Majilpur clay dolls
It was the time, when the Mangrove forest outstretched up to outskirts of the city of Kolkata. The main flow of river Bhagirathi, was flowing through Kalighat,Tollygung, Baruipur and Joynagar and was meeting the sea. Along with traditional Hindu Gods like Radha-Krishna, Jagannath, Ganesh, Mahadev at al, numerous folk deities of Sundarban such as Dakshin Ray (Deity of Tiger), Kalu Ray, Narayani, Bar Khan Gazi, Banabibi, Olabibi, Jholabibi, Asgaribibi, Shitola, Basanta Ray, Panchanan, Dharma thakur, made their position within these dolls.
The life and lifestyle of the people, who lived within the hostility of forest, their hope and desires, prayers and fears, got the physical structure through this art form of family centric doll making. The descendents of Kalicharan Peyada, Manmatha Das, Panchugopal das and Presently Shambhunath Das are carrying forward the baton of this Art heritage still today.
Apart from the Hindu and folk deities, Joynagar- Majilpur dolls contributed a special genera of dolls termed as Babu Putul. In colonial Bengal a community was originated who talked both wrong Bengali and English, wore well pressed Dhoti, Punjabi , Uttoriyo and Pump shoes, avid drinkers and Excellency of immorality, rich, English flatterer and having a single track mind to be famous were termed as Babus. People of lower classes did not fond of that community at all. To portray the lifestyle of the city they started making effigy of Bus, tram, Postman, Fat belly Brahmins, visti-wala(water carriers), and Babus of different interesting features. Following the inheritance, Shabhunath Das is still making the dolls of Angry babu, Babu with fancy walking stick, happy Babu, Drunk Babu etc. Moulds made by Presidential Awardee Manmatha Das are still being used by his grandson Shambhunath. One can find Manmathas signature with date in some of the moulds and dolls even today.
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