Friday, November 16, 2012

Clay Dolls of Krishnanagar, West Bengal, India

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Ghurni is a neighbourhood of Krishnanagar in Nadia district in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is the centre for the production of clay dolls, often referred to as Krishnanagar clay dolls.

Maharaja Krishnachandra (1710–1783), King of Krishnanagar was a great patron of the fine arts, including literature and music and supported the production of clay dolls. In 1728 he brought families of potters from Dhaka and Natore and settled them in Ghurni, then a village.

In an article, the Bangalore-based newspaper Deccan Herald writes, “We have clay dolls, toys and even clay sculptures in different parts of India. But there has been nothing to match the clay doll artisans of Krishnanagar in the Nadia district of West Bengal. The creations of these artists are displayed in most of the handicraft museums of the world. In India, we have a large display of these dolls in the Shankar’s Doll Museum in New Delhi. One look at the clay dolls and we are amazed at the reality with which the artist has displayed the character of the model. A horse rearing to gallop to a placid dog licking its lips after a hearty feed.

Krishnanagar clay dolls are unique in their realism and the quality of their finish. They truly represent a breakaway from the traditional form. Fruits, fish, insects, animals, birds, and of course the entire pantheon of Hindu gods and goddesses, and even the ubiquitous Donald Duck and other popular comic strip characters, faithful copies of real-life, down to the minutest detail. Realistic recreations of everyday life, work, mood and character- farmers, weavers, rag pickers, basket makers, umbrella makers - are all specialties of Krishnanagar clay doll artisans.

Please have a look at a few samples of this great unimitable art form of West Bengal:


  1. hi, this is damn good, can you provide me makers contact number....

  2. i want to make a survey abt clay modelling in krishnagar .. can anybody provide me informations abt clay modelling industry @ gurni....