View Full Version : On a pursuit of local craftness
June 6, 2011, 07:29 PM
It is said that the best type of sitalpati mat is so silky that a snake cannot move across it as its smoothness allows no friction to the wriggling body of the reptile without which it could make no progress.
Shital Pati (cool mat) is a kind of mat which is feels cold by nature. It is made from murta plants (Clinogyne dichotoma (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinogyne_dichotoma)).
Shitalpati is made from cane or from murta plants, known at different places as mostak, patipata, patibet and paitara. The murta plant grows around water bodies in sylhet, sunamganj, barisal, tangail, comilla, noakhali, feni and chittagong. These days nakshi pati made of murta plants is available only in Sylhet and Noakhali districts of Bangladesh.
June 6, 2011, 07:30 PM
The making of the Bengali kanthi dhol is a highly developed art. Here are some important points.
The drumshell is an extremely important part of the dhol. This shell is known as the dhor. It generally starts with a cylindrical or barrel shaped piece of wood. The following dimensions are generally used for the Bengali kanthi dhol. It is generally two feet long. Circumference in the middle of the dhor (shell) is about three feet. Both ends have circumferences which are considerably less.
Goat hide is used to cover both openings (chauni). These skins are wrapped over bamboo rings (gojra/chak) and then fitted over the shell (dhor) by rawhide lacing, string, or rope. This lacing often passes through metal rings to facilitate tuning. The hides are not the same thickness. The left hand skin is thicker than that of right hand side. This thicker left hand skin, when combined with the pitch-like application on the inner surface, gives the left side a substantially deeper sound.
There are a few accessories to the Bengali kanthi dhol. One of these is a cloth which wraps around the drum; this is primarily decorative. This cloth is known as "Gamcha". There is also a strap which allows the dhuli to hang the dhol around their neck, thus allowing the performer to walk and play at the same time.
June 6, 2011, 07:34 PM
Song of weaving
An exhibition of traditional mats
There is an exhibition going on in the 'Nitya Upahar' gallery in the Aziz Co-operative Super Market in Shahabagh, Dhaka. The gallery, on the third floor of the market, is Bangladesh's first fashion exhibition gallery. The ongoing exhibition is the debut show in this gallery. The title of the exhibition is 'Song of Weaving', and the main focus of this show is Bangladesh's traditional mats and their motifs. The mats are made all over Bangladesh and the weavers are famous for being meticulous and flawless in colouring and weaving these mats.
The concept of the exhibition was created by Chandra Shekhar Shaha, coordinated by Bahar Rahman, clothes designed by Shabyashachi Hajra, computer graphics by Mahmudul Hasan Milon, and design printed by Nazrul Islam. But most importantly, the motifs of the 'botni pati' are designed by 'pati' artiste Mariam Begum. Mariam Begum has received an award for being the best craft artiste, by Bangladesh National Craft Council.
This experimental exhibition was organised with the hope of promoting very ordinary and indigenous things that are a part of our everyday life, and turn them into, rather proclaim them as an art. 'Pati' or mats are an essential part of the village people's lives. There are namely three kinds of mats, one is for saying prayers, another is for beds, and more commonly for entertaining guests. Those used for entertaining guests are called 'ashon pati' or 'botni pati'. The 'botni pati' is the subject of this exhibition, where mats with different motifs are displayed. But the main attraction of the show consists of the clothes, especially the saris displayed there.
June 6, 2011, 07:38 PM
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June 6, 2011, 07:52 PM
during the MS:SP Fellowship.
Thursday, 18 February 2010
Goldsmiths & Metalworkers
Pulak agreed to act as guide and translator for me today, we planned to revisit Old Dhaka and find the area where the goldsmiths and the jewellery workshops were. We had passed through the area before when we went to get the boat to visit Tapan's house. The shops were filled with interesting things; wire, flux, small clay crucibles, all manner of materials to support the nearby workshops.
First I wanted to follow a lead I had been given by Sukanta. I had asked him if he knew if people still made the woven metal baskets, the ones I had seen in the museum. He gave me some names and places to visit in Dhaka, I also wanted to try to get a copy of the book Shawon Akand had written on the metalwork in Dhamrai. Pulak and I set off in search of these, we had no success with the book Shawon Akand had written on the metalwork in Dhamrai. Pulak and I set off in search of these, we had no success with the book at the bookshop but we did find this basket in a shop.
June 6, 2011, 07:56 PM
June 6, 2011, 08:16 PM
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June 6, 2011, 09:06 PM
Aesthetics and Vocabolary [sic] of Nakshi Kantha
The Author is a pioneer in the movement for bringing recognition to the crafts of Bangladesh starting in 1973, when handicrafts were considered the 'unsophisticated' products of rural masses. She put Bangladesh on the World Crafts Council, an affiliate of UNESCO in 1978. She set out to motivate and convince thousands of village artisans, for their heritage and it's immense value. She was instrumental in organising the 'First National Handicrafts Exhibition' at the Shilpa Kala Academy which led to the establishment of the first artisan's organisation in the country, Bangladesh Hastashilpa Samabaya Federation Ltd. in 1974, named Karika. We present here a lecture she delivered at the IGNCA.
The subject on Nakshi Kantha has barely been researched and the few scholars who wrote on the subject, such as Stella Kramrisch and Ajit Mukherjee wrote their pioneering works 58 years ago in 1939. The long gap between then and now has only been filled with several descriptive articles, both in India and Bangladesh.
In my search for background materials, I visited the British Library, London which was the India Office Library, and also the Philadelphia Museum in USA, where Stella Kramrisch's collection is kept. I found no mention of kantha in the British records. The absence of documentation on kantha automatically set limitations on my investigative efforts. I became convinced that the nakshi kantha had not been researched in depth. Kantha is like a personal diary, a letter one writes to a particular person, and is not meant to be read by all. In East Bengal the kantha was a personal expression, an art-craft that was made spontaneously, even whimsically. It was never commissioned by rulers, nor ordered by the landed gentry. It was a craft that was practised by women of all rural classes, the rich landlord's wife making her own elaborate embroidered quilt in her leisure time, and the tenant farmer's wife making her own thrifty, coverlet, equal in beauty and skill.
The lack of research material on the subject of kantha has, in a way, been a blessing in disguise. I was able to undertake my study with an open mind and build up my analysis based on investigative methodology. The Bangladesh National Museum Collection is the largest in the country comprising 994 objects, though more have been added since my study. These kanthas have been acquired from the districts of Faridpur, Jessore, Khulna, Rajshahi, Pabna, Rangpur, Mymensingh, Jamalpur, Kushtia, Bogra, Kishoreganj, Tangail and Dhaka.
In the course of my study I made identification of the various types of kantha based on size, shape and utility of the object, and in some cases I was able to categorise the genre of the kantha. Establishing the genre is a task for further in-depth research, but in some kanthas the ritualistic or iconoclastic symbols were strong enough to point to magico - religious roots. As I sifted through almost a thousand pieces, I discovered certain streams of motifs and designs flowing through, and decided to classify them for purposes of a better interpretation. I was able to categorise through 600 line drawings valuable resource material of images and forms such as the tree of life, the kalka or paisley, birds, horses, elephants, abstract and tantric symbols, linear patterns and figural objects.
June 7, 2011, 12:10 AM
Daamn dada! Very rich thread! Very good!
I will add more to this in a bit....
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