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The Ivory and Wood craft industry dates back to the time when the Nawabs of Bengal had their court at Murshidabad. As this industry was fully depen­dent for its prosperity on the support of a luxurious court and wealthy noblemen, it had to face a crisis when the Nawabs lost their power and their court disappeared.
During the early period of the British rule, the performance of the ivory carvers of Murshidabad was also praised by foreigners. During the Exhibition of 1851 in London, a variety of specimens of carving in ivory were sent to different parts of India and these were much admired for their  minuteness and elaborate of details.  In 1888 again, the Murshidabad carvers were declared to be perhaps the best in India, fully displaying the finish, minuteness and ingenuity characteristic of all true Indian art.
When Berhampore rose into importance as chief military station in the province, the art flourished there for a time but began to wane with the decline of the military importance of the town. If not for the trade depending on the railway communication,  this art would have died out long ago. Earlier the ivory carvers used to get large orders from Government for supplying specimens of their work for various exhibitions in England and other European countries, as also in India. But this was later discontinued when arrangements were made to collect the exhibits on loan from noblemen and zamindars, like the Nawab of Murshidabad and the Maharaja of Cossimbazar who were in a position to supply the best specimens under their possession. Mathra, Daulatbazar and Ranshagorgram bordering the city of Murshidabad were once noted for the industry but altogether forgotten in later years owing to decay of the industry.

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Shola pith is a milky-white sponge-wood which is carved into delicate and beautiful objects of art. Sola is a plant which grow wild in marshy waterlogged areas. The biological name of shola is Aeschynomene Indica or Aeschynomene Aspera (bean family) and it is a herbaceous plant. The shola pith is the cortex or core of the plant and is 1 ˝ inch in diameter. The outer harder brown skin is removed by expert hands to reveal the inner soft milky-white and spongy material, almost similar to "Thermocol", artificially produced in a laboratory. However, sholapith is much superior to thermocol in terms of malleability, texture, lustre and sponginess. Artisans use it for making artifacts used for decoration and ornate head-wears of bridal couple. The finest examples of craftsmanship are however seen on images of  "Gods and Goddesses" on festivals, especially the massive decorative backdrops made for "Durga Puja" celebrations. Craftsmen spend months working on each piece and every details is meticulously worked out.

In Murshidabad the shola crafts are flowery designs, decorative head-wears of gods and goddesses, garlands, exquisite figurines like faces of gods and goddesses, elephant-howdahs, peacock-boats, palanquins and so on are made of sholapith.

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Bell-metal and brass utensils are manufactured in large quantities at Khagra, Berhampore, Kandi, Baranagar and Jangipur. Thev are exported as well as sold in the local markets. Locks and betelnut cutters of a superior kind are made at Dhulian and iron chests at Jangipur. The problem of getting raw materials for the brass and bell-metal artisans of the district is, however, acute. While delay in getting raw materials owing to the complicated procedural formalities involved in the submission of applications for raw materials has been almost a constant factor, the industry has also been affected by the change in consumers demand in favour of stainless steel, plastic and ceramic goods and crockery.


Baluchari Saree..The Baluchari sarees are figured silk saree produced in the town of Baluchar in Murshidabad district. Baluchar sarees essentially have a silk base with silk brocaded designs with respect to their colours, where inspite of a rich composition, the Baluchar bootidars almost avoid strong contrasts. Each pattern is treated in a colour which harmonises with the ground on which it is laid. The most popular colours used are red, blue, yellow, green and scarlet. The Baluchari sarees have large floral motifs interspersed with flowering shrubs. Traditionally the Muslim community was also known to produce these Baluchars with figured patterns depicting court scenes, horse with a rider, women smoking hookah. The Kalka design or the cone motif is often surrounded with floral borders.

Pink Baluchari Saree....Bengal had a nourishing silk industry in the past and Murshidabad long enjoyed a special reputation in this respect. The Bengal silk manufactures formed one of the important exports of the English East India Company to England, and these were exported also to the markets in the Asiatic countries. After the establishment of English factories at Malda and Cossimbazar, the English Company's trade in Bengal silk manufactures began to increase, and their use became common among the people in England because of their good quality and cheapness. In the mid-eighteenth century the country round about it (Cossimbazar) was very fertile, and the inhabitants remarkably industrious, being employed in many useful manufactures. About 1663 AD, the Dutch in their Cossimbazar factory sometimes employed 700 silk weavers, and the English and the other European nations smaller number. They generally furnished 22,000 bales of silk a year, each bale weighing 100 Ibs. The Total was equivalent to 30,078 maunds (  1 maund = 40 Kg ie. 12,03,120 Kg ). The silk thread was thus distributed : the Dutch took for Japan or Holland 6,000 to 7,000 bales, the merchants of Tartary and the Mughal Empire about the same quantity, and the remainder ( about 9,000 bales ) were consumed by the people of the country for manufacturing their own stuff. This silk was brought to Ahmedabad and Surat and were woven into fabrics. There was considerable demand for Bengal's raw silk in England's markets as the Continental System occasioned an entire cessation of the customary importations of the Italian raw silk.

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