Hi Ratri....thanks for the lovely post. This place has always been one of my favourite venture in Kolkata. Kumartuli or the clay model-makers haven, is even older than Calcutta, which grew out of three little villages - Gobindapore, Kalikutta and Sutanooti way back in 1690. The history of the Kumartuli potter can be traced back to Krishnanagar in South Bengal. To begin with, near about the middle of the seventeenth century, potters in search of better livelihood came from Krishnanagar to Gobindapore, a prosperous village on the banks of the river Bhagirathi now the River Hooghly , to eke out a living by making earthen ware pots, clay toys and cooking utensils for household use. When the land at Gobindapore was required by the British East India company for building Fort William, the inhabitants migrated further up the river to Sutanooti. The potters moved in to their new destination, colonized a vast area and named it Kumartuli, the term Kumar meaning a potter and tuli a locality.
Thanks Ratri....Kumartuli is truly an iconic name not only in Kolkata, but all over the world. The efforts of the Kumartuli porters began when the Durga Puja festival in autumn was an annual event in the homes of wealthy aristocrats. The early potters of Kumartuli came all the way from Krishnanagar, braving the perils of a river voyage, to mould the images of the gods and goddesses for the Durga Puja festival. By about the end of the eighteenth century, as the ways of the rich inspired the commoner, the annual worship of goddess Durga gained popularity.
Hi all....Till date Kumartuli is the supreme hub of idol making in East India and probably the most famous one in the world. Nearly eighty per cent of the community puja images in Calcutta are made at Kumartuli by lesser known artisans, who strive to make something new and innovative in their sphere of endeavour.
Posted On : 6/1/2009 11:13:51 PM
Ratna Shah Reward Points : 16600 Member Since : Monday, April 07, 2008
I visited Kumartuli with my fiends in a hot summer day. Even then I saw the potters making idols of different Gods and Goddesses. Making an image of a deity is a routine affair for an artisan at Kumartuli . To begin with, a skeleton of the figure is made first with small wooden planks and strips of bamboo. It stands on a wooden pedestal. The deity is roughly shaped with straw and tied with jute strands. It is one of the most significant steps in the art of clay model-making, as the final shape of the image depends on how well the straw dummy is conceived. A thick coating of blackish clay, mixed with rice husk is applied over the dummy. It is left to dry for a couple of days in the sun. A compound of sand-clay and jute fibre is smeared over the first coating and the surface is smoothed with a piece of wet cloth. Its interesting indeed to see the process going on.
Hello all......do you know that the structure of idols in Kumartuli greatly differ with others. Most of them shape the icons in the traditional mould, clinging desperately to time-honoured traditions in an age of modernity. By and large the gods and goddess have features ingrained in the popular imagination through myth, legend and literature. Thus, they are made in two distinct styles, either in the Bangla or Do-Bhashi mould. The contours of the Bangla mould or visage is triangular, with a square chin, the hooked nose of a parrot and bamboo-leaf eyes and brows that extend impossibly from the bridge of the nose to the hairline. The Do-Bhasi mould, on the other hand is much softer. The complexion, too, is idealized like molten gold, more often yellow as the sun at crack of dawn.
Posted On : 6/1/2009 11:19:50 PM
Roop Chatterjee Reward Points : 21400 Member Since : Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Kumartuli is a land in Kolkata that is close to every Bengali s heart and sentiments. Emerging virtually as an independent international brand of Durga-image makers, Kumartuli continues to remain an exclusive exporter of the idols of the goddess to NRIs settled in different nooks and corners of the globe during the Durga Puja held annually.