Wooden Toys of West Bengal

Wooden Toys of West Bengal

About a century and a half ago, a group of wooden toy makers had settled down in Natungram. For centuries, they found markets to sell their craft essentially in only rural fairs. In the early days, small figures were made using this craft, of which the raja-rani (king and queen) and owl (associated with Goddess Lakshmi) with their bright, vibrant colours are the most well known. Male figures were made with their hands raised and the female figures with their hand by their side. To make the toys, a length of wood with a square section is chiselled into the desired shape, and is painted with bold colours. Presently, the toys are produced using a similar technique however the forms differ. One may also find figures of gods and goddesses carved in relief on rectangular or square wooden sections, apart from the toys. These are very popular in urban markets due to their contemporary appearance.

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