Craftsmen : Ananta Malakar
Sholapith has been utilised in Bengal by malakar carvers who transform the soft, light and lustrous inner portions of the herbaceous plant growing wild in marshy water logged areas.
Shola is a kind of reed growing in bogs in East India. When dried it is light in weight and when its thin brown skin is removed the pure white sholapith is ready to be carved with the sharp "Kat". The decorations are minutely and meticulously worked in such a delicate form that it is hard to believe that this grandeur has been wrought by hand from this simple core of the wild plant.
Sholapith is used for making a wide variety of decorative objects such as flowers for ceremonial functions, ornaments for women, images of gods and goddesses, Bengali wedding headdresses worn by the bride and groom, hand fans, bouquets, toy birds and animals.
The deftness of the hand becomes even more astounding when the craft is executed using just one or two sharp-edged knives, a pair of scissors and a few moulds. It is remarkable that the simple wild plant can be used for making beautiful models of temples and structures with precision and detail.