Pottery industries in Bangladesh
Dhamrai (ধামরাই) Pottery Industry is one of the renowned pottery industries in Bangladesh. There are several pottery villages in Dhamrai. Such as Kagozi Para (Pathantola), Shimulia Paal Para, Notun Bondor Paal Para etc. Paal Paara refers to the pottery villages of Dhamrai. A Kumar’s house usually has the same type of zoning and configuration. Beneath the same thatched roof are the kiln, storehouse and dwelling house, while a free space in front of the door or the courtyard is used as a place to prepare the clay.
Traditional occupation in Dhamrai:
For generations, Dhamrai has been the house of crafts like metal casting and pottery. But these traditional occupations are now in danger as those could not compete with modernization in course of time. Once Dhamrai used to be a whole craft village but now other occupations have come into being reducing the handicraft based jobs. Even most of the artisans are leaving their age-old professions and taking up other occupations to accommodate their livelihood.
Who is Artisan(?) or Craftsman:
An artisan is a person engaged in or occupied by the practice of a craft, who may through experience and talent reach the expressive levels of an artist using his hands, mind and heart in his work and what he creates. The traditional terms craftsman and craftswoman are nowadays often replaced by artisan and rarely by craftsperson.
Historically, craftsmen tended to concentrate in urban centers and formed guilds. The skill required by their professions and the need to be permanently involved in the exchange of goods also demanded a generally higher level of education, and craftsmen were usually in a more privileged position than the peasantry in societal hierarchy. The households of craftsmen were not as self-sufficient as those of people engaged in agricultural work and therefore had to rely on the exchange of goods.
Artisans of Dhamrai:
The basic artisans of Dhamrai are metal casting artisans, and potters also known as Paal. Usually Paals work freelance whereas metal casting artisans work after getting assignments. Dhamrai has always been one of the most interesting craft villages of Bangladesh, though the prominence has faded away. Remaining artisans of Dhamrai are the generation of those who were once the soul of Dhamrai. Though the number is decreasing in a drastic rate, there are still artisans left to continue the age old professions of creation.
Pottery is the art of earth ware making. The history of Bangladeshi pottery is as ancient as it is illustrious, dating as far back as the Mohenjodaro and Harappa civilisations where earthenware was found after the excavation of Mohasthangarh in Bogra (300 BC). The folk arts of these categories are now being used most tastefully in modern design. Pottery has now become a commercially successful product in Bangladesh. Clay pots are widely available in rural Bangladesh. kumars sell their products at the weekly village bazaars or in roadside stalls. Bangladeshi potter has always laid stress on the basic form and texture of his articles. The wheel is of the common kind, thick with shoats‘ spokes, and terms on a pivot of hard wood on metal, provided with a large hub that acts as a revolving label. The potter throws the kneaded clay into the center of the wheel rounding it off, and then spins the wheel. As the whirling gathers momentum, he begins to shape the clay. When it is over he severs the shaped bit flour the rest. As for the types of wares, pottery comprises true distinctive types of wears.
Mohammad Nazrul Islam, Bangladesh, Dhaka