The origin of Bengali art dates back to pre-independence and the time of independence with the birth of the Bengal School of Art. Ever since the state of West Bengal situated in the Indian subcontinent has made a name for itself in the realm of art. On account of the reign of many various dynasties in the earlier days, arts and crafts in West Bengal experienced many modifications, resulting in a diverse artistic culture in the aspects of the cultural handicrafts, terracotta, painting and carving, dances, music, and so on. In addition to its natural beauty and past glory, the state has a tight grip on the arts and architecture, making it special.
In West Bengal, indigenous music is given much importance. These include the genres
Baul, Bishnupuri Classical, Shyama Sangeet, Rabindra Sangeet, Dwijendrageeti, Probhati Sangeet, Kantageeti, Kirtan, Ganasangeet, Nazrul Geeti, Atulprasadi, Adhunik Gaan, Bengali rock, among others. The Bishnupur Gharana is Bengal's only Classical (Drupad) Gharana. This music genre was a result of the songs that were composed by the court musicians of the Malla Kings in the region Bishnupur. The bauls are a mysterious group of singers and musicians who are extremely successful in the countryside. They use a khamak, ektara, and dotara to perform. Tagore songs, or Rabindra Sangeet, are songs written and produced by Rabindranath Tagore. They have distinctive features in Bengali music, which is famous in India and Bangladesh. Shyama Sangeet is a Bengali devotional style of music devoted to Shyama or Kali, a semblance of the presiding universal mother-goddess Durga or Parvati. This genre also goes by the names of Shakti and Durgastuti.
Song and dance are imperative to each other's existence. Bengal's rich cultural heritage and creative minds are strongly reflected in popular traditional dances such as martial dance, harvest dance, and so on. Rural Bengal leads the way in preserving old customs and associated song and dance in modern West Bengal. Some West Bengal folk dances are linked to religion, prayers, festivals, and rituals, while others discuss society.
Gaudiya Nritya - Named after its place of origin (Gaur), Gaudiya Nritya is a classical Bengali dance tradition.
Martial Dances - Martial dances were often a retelling of mythological wars. Popular dances of this genre were Purulia Chhau dance, Raibenshe dance, Stick dance or Laghur Nritya, Ranapa Dance, Dhali and Paika Nritya, and Kukri Nritya.
Harvest Dances - As the name suggests, these dances deal with the themes of changing seasons, rains, and harvesting in this particular region.
Patachitra Paintings - An integral part of the Bengal tradition, the Patachitra paintings are a cultural heritage in West Bengal. This art form is known for its anomalies in color and design, especially across the state of West Bengal. Through images on a cloth-based scroll, these paintings tell the stories of mythological narratives as well as folktales.
Chalchitra - Chalchitra is an art form that is an extension of Patachitra. Often referred to as Debi Chal or Durga Chala, these paintings are known for their detailed portrayals of Goddess Durga.
Durga Pot - Another form of the Patachitra, the Durga Pot, otherwise known as, Durga Sara is used in Durga Pujas. This art form is considered a form of worship in the Birbhum district of West Bengal. With a semi-circular design, the painting features Goddess Durga in the center.
Clay Art - This art form has an indigenous lineage in West Bengal. With an age-old tradition of handcrafted dolls, these clay dolls are found extensively in the state of West Bengal. The commonly used materials include soft clay and fired clay.
Kantha - The Kantha stitch is a popular art form in Shantiniketan.
Dokra - This art form showcased numerous images and figures of various deities, birds, and animals. It is predominantly found in the Western regions of Bengal.
Wooden Art - This particular art form is not a new development in West Bengal, it has been an age-old practice that has existed in Bengal traditions for years.
Bamboo Crafts - Another age-old Bengal art form is bamboo crafts. This form is commonly used in the making of baskets and trays. Sometimes, these items are also painted with sacred symbols and utilized in matrimonial ceremonies and other sacred events.
Q1. Which is the most popular art form in the region?
The most popular art form in the West Bengal region is the folk art form Dokra. In West Bengal, the making of statues, idols, jewelry, and other items are attributed to this art form. These articles are made with wax, clay, and molten metal.
Q2. Who was responsible for the birth of the Bengal School of Art?
The founder of the Bengal School of Art, is Abandrinath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore’s nephew. He established this school of thought in the hopes of keeping the traditional Indian painting styles alive.
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