Associated as she is with destruction, fury, and death, Goddess Kali is the quintessential ‘rudra’ (furious) form of female energy. In the hands of Mojilpur (or Majilpur, if you like) doll makers, however, she is somehow transformed into a smiling, benign, slightly rotund presence who would fit right into a snug little corner of your home.
The reason for this lies in the distinctive creative process that goes into the making of Mojilpur dolls, fire-clay earthen artefacts of unparalleled, unique beauty. Part of a long tradition of clay doll-making in Bengal, Mojilpur dolls proudly take their place alongside dolls from several other parts of the state. Sadly, however, the only remaining artisan who produces these moulded clay dolls is Sambhu Das, grandson of legendary doll-maker Manmatha Das.
The ancestors of the Das family migrated to Bengal from Jessore (today a district in south-western Bangladesh) very many years ago, and Sambhu is currently struggling to save this heritage art from going extinct. His grandfather was honoured with the prestigious President’s Award in 1986, but Sambhu does not know if anyone will take up the baton once he is gone.
The more you patronise master artisans like Sambhu, the more you do to protect and conserve the rich tradition of Bengal, and encourage newer generations to take up a dying art. In the bargain, you have a magnificent work of art to display at home, so beautiful and unique that it can start several conversations!
The Mojilpur Goddess Kali dolls in our collection have either black or blue as their base colour. Mojilpur clay dolls differ in many ways from fired-clay dolls made in other parts of Bengal. To begin with, their insides are hollow, with two parts of a doll being joined together. Second, idols of gods and goddesses are not fired, being dried in the sun and then painted instead. Other dolls, however, go through the usual clay firing process. The figures are rounded, painted with vibrant colours and coated with gurjan (balsam) oil to enhance their lustre. Finally, brushstrokes similar to those found in Kalighat ‘pata’s (scroll paintings) also give Mojilpur dolls their uniquely cheerful, well-rounded, good-natured look.
So without further ado, get your Goddess Kali Mojilpur doll today, as well as any of the others in our collection that you may like. Take home the unique, centuries-old essence of Bengal.
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