Written by Priyabrata Mondal
Two main city of Howrah district, one Howrah and the other is Uluberia. The city of Uluberia is rich in Bhagirathi, Damodar and Rupnarayan silt. The city is located on the west side of Hooghly river. Banshpaty canal flows through this city. This canal is directly connected to the river and it is a part of life to the people of Uluberia. This canal is dependent to the farmer, brick businessman, fisherman, and other people of different communities, including the potter. The main and the first raw material of the potters of Banibon region is the silt of the canal. The water level of the canals rises in the time of tide and the muddy layer rises. During the summer, when the water falls, potters saves the soil and then produces the best quality potteries. Just so! Some special type of soil toys in this region are very popular and unique, all of which are preferred.
Palanquin, made of soil
“I want palanquin in my doll’s marriage ceremony. I die heart want it.” May be that’s just for clay doll, but you can get it from the sub divisional area of Uluberia. Here potters make and sell palanquin for dolls. Palanquin made of thin clay plaques and was attached around each other. Sometimes the help of mould is taken. The palanquins are like real wooden palanquin. There are doors and windows on both side of the palanquins. There are carrying bar in both side. The palkis are about 9 inches long and 5 inches tall.
Like pots, the palanquins are dried well in the sun and then they are burnt with other pottery. Then the palanquins are dipped in lime to make it white. Later, the red, blue and green lines are drawn on them. Some artists make their palanquins with butterflies, big flowers, etc. drawn on it. Generally, this job is done by women in ‘Kumor bari’ (potters). The puppets of the bride go to the in-laws house riding these palanquins. The dolls are made of clay.
At present, low-priced fragile toys are manufactured by low prices in the market, so the market of the clay dolls has reduced. Moreover, the amount of open space required to dry the raw soil toys is decreasing with the increasing population. Raw materials such as clay, burning equipment and workers’ wages are increasing rapidly. That’s why many potters are turning away from this profession.
The children’s puppet king will go to the marriage by the water, or businessman will go to the business. No worry, soil boats are near the hand. Boats are made in mould. Generally, women do this distinguished work. Boats are about 8/10 inches. There are four wheels on each side of the two. These are dried and burnt in the furnace with other clay pots.
After that lime is used to make basic colour. Later, the pictures of red, green, blue coloured flowers are painted with a narrow puff. Boat will be run after tying a rope in front of the boa. In this situation, there was a lot of demand for the whole year in Benibon. Despite of all these hurdles, they sale these potteries in ‘Jangalbilasher Poush Mela’.
Photo Courtesy : Priyabrata Mondal
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