Lac is cultivated in the south west parts of West Bengal. Purulia district, in particular, has a long history of socio-cultural revolution. In different ancient Indian literatures this land was referred as Bajrabhumi, Shumbho Bhumi, Shikhar Bhum, Radha, Manbhumi etc. Purulia has its boundaries on the east with Jhargram (western part of erstwhile Medinipur district) and Bankura district of West Bengal; on the north with the Paschim Burdwan district of West Bengal and Dhanbad district of Jharkhand; on the north with west – west and south-west with Hazaribagh, Ranchi and East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand.
Lac belongs to the category of Minor forest Produces (MFPs). A significant number of farmers are dependent on lac cultivation for their livelihood resources. To the small and marginal farmers in the district lac is regarded as an important source of cash flow. The main two purposes which can be identified behind Lac cultivation are making it a family occupation and commercial marketing.
The unique characteristics of Purulia Lac that distinguish it from that of other states of the country are as follows:
Button lac and Shellac of Purulia is traditionally hand-made and the processing is simple in order to keep this insect resin as natural as possible.
Gold holds tremendous importance in Bengali traditions and the practice of wearing gold jewellery on special occasions – including weddings, religious ceremonies, and important festivals such as Durga Puja and Kali Puja dates back centuries.
Kolkata jewellery holds cultural significance in Bengali culture. There is various type of traditional Bengali jewellery, namely Nath, Kaan Baala, Patti Haar, Jhumko, Tairaa, Chik, and Chur. They are also essential in Bengali Bridal jewellery.
The jewellery are made using pure gold of 22 carat and above. Kolkata Jewellery is hand crafted. Kolkata Jewellery is collection of Conventional and traditional ornaments.
The design includes nature elements like Pata necklace (Pata Har), Ful Bala , ; animals like Hati Mukh pola (Elephant face) , Harin Bala (Deer) , Mayur Kan (Peacock Earrings ) daily use product like Chata Angti ( Umbrella ring ), Belt Neckless , Dori Chain and other items like Skha Badhano , Sita Har , Mantasha etc.
Natungram Wooden Dolls are a type of wooden doll, popular in India, especially in the Bardhaman District of West Bengal state. The art of making wooden dolls is an age-old practice in India and Natungram dolls are especially culturally relevant, associated directly with the goddess Lakshmi. Other examples of such dolls include the famous Gour-Nitai, Krishna dolls, and Royal couple dolls.
The artists of Natungram worked first in stone carving, with the patronage of the local Rajas of Bardhaman. However, after the fall of the Raj after the abolition of the Zamindari system in 1951, the craftsmen faced difficulties. Many left the stone carving industry and began crafting fine arts and wooden works – though numbers of carvers are declining again due to the inefficiency of wood carving in comparison to plastic and metal.
One of the common family names here is Sutra dhar due to the surname’s association with carpentry and woodcarving
Begampur is a small but well known village in Chanditala II block, Hooghly district in West Bengal. It is 30 K.M away from Kolkata and well connected by road and rail.
Handloom weaving is the main occupation of the residents of this village. The number of handloom weavers has dwindled from about 4000 in last decade to about approximately 2000 now, due to migration to other profession.
For a long time handloom weavers were producing a well-known sari variety, locally known as ‘matapar’ saris which means simple border without any ornamentation, woven with coarser cotton yarn (40s x 40s & 40s x60s). These cheaper variety saris are mainly of coloured stripes and check patterns and with designs in the borders.
Begampuri Saree can be distinguished by the presence of designs and ‘chiur’ (designs made by wooden pattayas) technique of weaving in some varieties. Contrast colours are usually arranged in body and borders.
When Rabindranath Tagore travelled to Java (Indonesia) in 1927 and was fascinated with this exquisite dyeing technique. He brought back several pieces of the fabric with the hope of reviving this traditional technique in India. The study of batik was thus introduced at the Vishwa Bharati University in Shanti Niketan. The technique evolved in the hands of the artists and craftsmen at the university, and from there it gradually spread across India. Thereon, the resurgence of Batik began.
Shanti Niketan in West Bengal is the art hub for batik. The ancient craft of batik is preserved at Visva-Bharati University in West Bengal, an institution founded by the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Two-year certificate courses in batik impart students with an in-depth comprehension of the production and history of Indian batik.