Wood Carving of West Bengal

The village community halls also known as chandimantaps, which were the centres of rural culture had the best of pillars, brackets beams etc. made out of beautifully carved wood. Some of the chandimantaps can be seen at Atpur and Sripur-Balagarh in the Hooghly district and also in Ula-Balagarh in Nadia district. The examples of wood carving of West Bengal can best be seen in the wooden images of village temples. Some domestic shrines are also made of wood and beautifully carved. Carved figures in classical tradition though simple are very expressive. The style is folk and the subject includes folk gods, goddess and figures. The wood from Bel and neem is used for carving and the figures are then painted with colours.

In Burdwan district of West Bengal, the wood carvers are known as sutradhars and are best known for huge platters and bowls which are made out of mango wood. In south Bengal, in the districts of 24-parganas and Howrah, both Hindu and Muslim community practises this craft form. Beautifully wood carved furniture is made here with teak, sisham and mahogany. Delicate and fine carving can be seen on wood panels and furnitures here. Bengal is also famous for the Raths which are made of wood and festooned with carved panels. The panels of the raths have figures carved into geometric and floral motifs. The raths usually also have a pair of horses.

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