Bankura Horses are clay horses used more often for religious purposes than as a decorative item. This art originated in Bankura District
of West Bengal
Panchmura, Rajagarm, Sonamukhi and Hamirpur are the major places where this art thrives, with each place having its own distinctive style. The potteries emerging from Panchmura are regarded as the best and finest. These horses are known for their symmetric shape and rounded curves of their body.
The process applied in making of these pottery pieces are still traditional. The tools used for shaping it are made from bamboo and stones. The four legs of the horse, the neck consisting of two parts and the face consisting of seven different pieces are made separately. These parts are then joined together manually and then smoothened up. Small parts of the body like ears and tails are molded separately and attached to the grooves of the horse’s body.
Horses are then allowed to dry partially. Holes are then made on appropriate portions of the body to facilitate uniform drying of the inner and outer surfaces. It is then left to dry in a closed room for about six to seven days. Later on, they are dried in sunlight. Once the drying process is complete, the horses are then painted with colors prepared from various clays. They are then baked in the kiln.
The surface color of it is varied by controlling the smoke emerging from the kiln. Terracotta red color is obtained by letting out the smoke, while black color is obtained by blocking the outlet of the smoke.
These horses are associated with the rituals of tribal, semi-tribal and folk deities.