Places of Producing Wooden Dolls
Apart from Nabadwip and Bardhaman, there are many other districts in West Bengal, where wooden dolls were been produced by the carpenter community. In the villages of Dainhat, Patuli, Kashthoshali of Bardhaman district, the wooden dolls are produced by the carpenters. Other places of wooden dolls productions are Thale-Raspur village of Howrah district; Srirampur and Chandannagore of Hooghly district; Daspur, Kanshona, Akulshanrha villages and Jharbani, Humgarh and Raulia villages of Garhbeta in Medinipur district; Ramgarh-Dharampur village of Jhargram; Bishnupur and Beltorh of Bankura district; Chorhda, Seneda and Brindabanpur of Purulia district. Wooden dolls were also made in many places of East Bengal like Dhaka, Faridpur, Mymensingh, Chittagong and Coomilla. Some of the dolls of these regions are exhibited in Ashutosh Museum in Kolkata.
Features of Wooden Dolls
Wooden dolls of different regions are distinguished by different features given to them by the carpenters of different places. For example, artisans of Jhargram decorate the dolls with many colourful designs; dolls of Bankura district have blunt noses; dolls of Purulia district are mainly bride dolls etc. Dolls of some area are triangular in shape whereas some are semicircular. Even the decorations made on the dolls vary from place to place depending on the culture and tradition of that region.
Formation of Wooden Dolls
Wooden dolls are first carved out of branches of trees then they are dried up before applying paint on them. Carving of the branches is done by male members of the carpenter family and the female members do the painting part. Red, blue, yellow, white, black and brownish colours are mixed with a paste made of tamarind seeds to paint the wooden dolls. Earlier, the painting was done by black myrobalan, red ochre, hingul, indigo, chalk and lampblack. The dolls were given the shapes of eyes, face and the folds of clothes by the colours using bold lines.
Types of Wooden Dolls
Apart from the bridal wooden dolls, there are certain other types of dolls. For example, artisans of Bardhaman district make wooden owls of different colours. They also make dolls of the figures of 'Gour-Nitai', 'king and queen' and 'Radha-Krishna'. Carpenters of Medinipur make wooden toys, which are shaped in husking pedals. Chordar artists of Purulia make bridal wooden dolls and ‘Radha’Krishna’ dolls.