Photographer's Note

This is yet another post from Kumartuli. The place is now in full mood, because the biggest festival in West Bengal-Durga Puja is just 23 days away and almost all the idols in Kolkata comes from this place. The neighbourhood of Kumartuli is well known for its traditional image-makers and potters (kumors). Kolkata celebrates the Durga Puja over a period of four to five days when the city is inundated with crowds of merry-makers out to visit the different places where the Puja festivals are held. The potters, who are traditionally skilled at making earthenware and clay images, are commissioned with the largest amount of orders for making the clay idols of goddess Durga slaying the demon, Mahisasura, a battle representing the triumph of good over evil, and her four children. This is taken a few months back when the idol making just started. All the idols are made of clay (except some idols which are made of fibre. These idols go outside India where there are large Bengali communities in different countries). In this picture you can find how the clay is treated before using it to make the idol. The man is busy pounding a mound of clay by his feet. The clay is mixed with a little amount of straw and after one/two days this clay will be added to the straw-bound wooden frames of the idols.

At various stages of image-making, one can observe how clay is used over bamboo and hay structures supporting the body of a statue, how they are then left to solidify and in the end coloured with layers of white paint, followed by more natural colours, and finally dressed in real clothes to look like the gods and goddesses they are supposed to represent.



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Additional Photos by Sayan Chakrabarti (sayan) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 560 W: 76 N: 685] (2617)
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