West Bengal is famous for several unique arts and crafts, all of which lend a distinctive identity to its culture. The terracotta craft is one such exclusive craft. It refers to the art of shaping clay into beautiful designs and then baking them at high temperature, to grant them stiffness and stability. The finest patterns of terracotta sheets can be found in Murshidabad, Birbhaum, Jessore, Hooghly and Digha towns of West Bengal.
The origin of terracotta craft dates back to 16th century, when the Bengali culture came in influence of the Vaisnava movement, led by Sri Chaitanya. Interestingly, the Malla rulers of Bankura took initiative to popularize both the Vaisnava sect and the new kind of terracotta art, which would depict the Krishna sect on the beautiful temples built by them. Most of the temples with terracotta pattern were built around late 16th through 19th century. Vishnupur Temple, built in the 17th century, is one of the best examples of terracotta craft.