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Here's what you can do in an afternoon simply by searching online.
Said to have been in someone's garden shed for 25 years.
I started a general search.
About this piece:
My thanks to Ambarish Soswami whose website is wonderful (!) and from which I have used quite a lot of the information here and some of the photos.
Terracotta sculpture and murals are extensively used in Bengal because it lacks stone and is covered with alluvium. Although some archaeological specimens have been found in PANDU RAJAR DHIBI and Harinarayanpur [pre-Mauryan sites] in West Bengal, the real history of terracotta sculpture starts from the Mauryan age (324-187 BC).
It is supposed that in pre-Mauryan times it was the Matrika (Mother-Goddess) statues that prevailed. From the presentation and aesthetic standard of the Mauryan sculpture it can be easily inferred that the art had a long and continuous heritage. Facial expression, hairstyle, head-ornaments, dress and jewellery of the sculpture belonging to the third century BC and found at Tamluk and CHANDRAKETUGARH (both in West Bengal) are indicative of refined taste and a sense of beauty. In terms of style it has marked kinship with contemporary stone sculpture. It is to be noted that faces of sculptures of this time were first made in moulds and then fixed on hand-made bodies.
Chandraketugarh is located 38 Km north-east of Calcutta in West Bengal, India is located in the ever changing alluvial delta of the Ganges river, where ancient coastal towns are now far inland.
It is therefore difficult to obtain any hard facts regarding the geography of ancient Chandraketugarh. Although not adjacent to any major navigable sea-bound water channel at present, Chandraketugarh lies only ten kilometers north of the dying stream of Vidyadhari river. Vidyadhari once used to be a strong navigable river opening up to the Adi Ganga, the ancient course of the Ganges. Through this route, the Chandraketugarh site probably had easy access to the sea.
The Archaeological significance of the Chandraketugarh area came to the attention in the early years of the last century when road-building activities exposed a brick structre. A. H. Longhurst first visited the site in 1907 on the urging of Tarak Nath Ghosh, a local resident. Despite the recovery of a large volume of bricks and potteries, Longhurst, unfortunatley, reported that "the ruins were of little or no interest". Rakhaldas Bandopadhyay (of Mohen-Jo-Daro fame) visited the site in 1909 and collected some artifacts. K. N. Dikshit, Superintendent of the Eastern Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), first published a report on the site in 1922-23. Kalidas Dutt, a well-known author of the archaeology of the lower Bengal, inspired Deva Prasad Ghosh, Kalyan Kumar Ganguly, and Kunja Govinda Goswami to take notice of this site. It was due to their persuation that the site was excavated by the Asutosh Museum of the Indian Art of the Calcutta University through 1955 to 1967. Their reports were published in the annual ASI Reviews. Finally, in 2000, there was a minor excavation at the site by ASI under Bimal Banerjee; however this effort has come to an abrupt stop.
There are two formidable difficulties facing the scholars studying Chandraketugarh. First, the relatively small scale of excavation at Chandraketugarh (by the Asutosh Museum) is not sufficient for a comprehensive understanding of the society and culture of such an extensive site. It is not known if the ASI, (Archaeological Survey of India) under whose custody the site is presently preserved, ever planned or executed any excavation since Asutosh Museum suspended theirs in 1967. Second, no detailed report on Chandraketugarh has ever been published by the scholars involved in the excavation of the site. All we have are the annual articles of the ASI Review, which, though they are indeed very useful, do not have the scope to present an assimilative view of several years of exploration. We probably will never have such a report written by one of the original excavators.
The history of Chandraketugarh dates back to almost the 3rd Century B.C., during the pre-Mauryan era. Artifacts suggest that the site was continuously inhabited and flourished through the Sunga-Kushana period, then the Gupta period and finally the Pala-Sena period. From all indications Chandraketugarh was an important urban center, and most probably a port city. It had a high encircled wall with a rampart and a moat. The people were engaged in various crafts and mercantile activities. Although the religious inclinations of the people are unclear, hints of the beginning of some future cults can be traced in the artifacts. Some of the potteries carry inscriptions in Kharoshthi and Brahmi scripts.
Due to the inconsistencies in the ASI Review reports and lack of crucial data it is extremely difficult to draw a comprehensive and reliable stratigraphical picture of the site. Enamul Haque has presented an occupational sequence by studying the ASI Review reports and allowing for marginal adjustments.
Pre-Maurya, 600-300 B.C.
Maurya, 300-200 B.C.
Sunga, 200 B.C. - 50 A.D.
Kushan, 50-300 A.D.
Gupta, 300-500 A.D.
Post-Gupta, 500-750 A.D.
Pala-Chandra-Sena, 750-1250 A.D.
Chandraketugarh excels in the beauty of its terracotta art. Even a cursory glance at one of its hundreds of terracotta plaques will astonish the viewer with its elegance and unusual precision of craftsmanship. For their artistic values these plaques are easily comparable to, if not surpassing, those found from relatively better known sites such as Kaushambi and Ahichhatra. In fact, terracotta plaques from these sites often carry similar motifs executed in nearly identical fashion. This points to an established communication link and common cultural heritage among these sites.
Discussing Chandraketugarh with Prof. Joachim K. Bautze
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