(Last Updated on : 09/04/2019)
Exquisite art work on the household items is a popular way of expressing the culture
and tradition of the rural people of Bengal
. These art works are the manifestations of the Bengali women of rural areas. And these household items of their daily life include various things, which can be from kantha
to earthen pots, shallow earthen plates, hanging loops of strings, hand-woven mats, hand fans, finely woven plaited mats, boxes and trunks, Goddess Lakshmi
's wicker-baskets and so many other things. These ordinary household things along with expressing the lifestyle of the rural people also reveal the craftsmanship
of the womenfolk.
Types of Art Work on Household Items
The art work on the household items is differentiated based on the type of household item. There are several items which bear different style of art and crafts on them with different meaning, symbols and expressions. On the basis of that, the art works on the items are:
Kantha embroidery is one of the popular embroidery styles of India. It is also considered to be a specialty of West Bengal. Kantha stitching is just running stitches particularly on the edges of the cloth. Different kinds of themes are applied in Kantha embroidery. It usually includes folk
design, floral motifs, birds and animal figures and several geometrical shapes and patterns. Most of the patterns of Kantha embroidery resemble the art of alpona. Mostly the themes are inspired by the day to day activities of the rural
people of Bengal.
Vessels of Brass:
Art work on the vessels of brass is another popular craft among the rural women of Bengal. These vessels made of brass include rice bowl, betel-box, nutcracker, kohl-compact, comb, vermilion-box etc. Vessels of brass produced by the Dhokra
or Mai community are the most popular ones. The art works on these vessels exhibit a wide range of exquisite shapes and designs of leaves and creepers.
Hand fan is another domestic article, which is made by stitching colorful threads on discarded clothes to weave it around a frame of a piece of bamboo. The colourful threads on the fan provide the effect of rainbow. The weaving style includes geometric designs, comprising several small squares, birds and flower motifs
Hanging Loops of Strings:
Hanging loops of strings are an indispensable item of utility in every home. These loops of strings were hung from the ceiling beams of kitchens to keep foodstuff secure and away from the reach of birds
. Usually, earthen pots of bigger sizes are put in the bottom part of the hanging loops and pots of smaller sizes are kept above them. The outer surfaces of the pots are decorated with ornamental designs of many colours. The jute strings to support the loops are also painted with bright colours.
Decorated Sitting Mats:
The sitting mats are used to sit on the floor, which is another example of domestic art. These mats were woven by the women during their spare time with multi-coloured threads of discarded clothes. These mats display subtle designs of flowers, leaves and creepers, the dual figures of Radha
, birds and animals and a variety of geometric designs.
Wicker-basket is made out of small pieces of bamboo or cane, which was ornamentally decorated with a cotton fabric of red colour on which countless small conches were embedded. Vermilion and silver rupees or gold mohurs or coins
are offered to Goddess Lakshmi in these baskets.
Wooden Moulds: Wooden
moulds were used to prepare sweets such as sandesh, khirer swasti, chandrapuli, amsatta etc. These moulds were given various geometrical designs, such as square, rhombus, triangle, circle, semicircle etc. Some of the moulds were made in the shapes of different objects like fish
, custard apple, conch shell, fruits, flowers with leaves, peacocks
, birds, horses and elephants
. The surfaces of the moulds display several patterns of alpona. Sometimes, these moulds display few lines of Bengali
lyrics or Sanskrit
shlokas bearing moral advice.