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  • The Art of Pottery in India

    The art of making decorative vessels using clay is one of the oldest forms of art. In India, it is one of the oldest crafts that is still being practiced. Pottery adorns majority of Indian homes because of its exquisite and elegant features.

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    Pottery is the art of making earthenware using moist clay and then drying them. Drying is done either by exposure to the sun, fire, baking in kilns or ovens.

    Indian pottery comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. This craft is used to make every type of earth-ware like cooking vessels, food bowls, storage red pots, urns, flower pots and decorative pots.

    The raw materials used in making pottery are clay and water which can be found throughout the country.

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    There are two popular methods of making pottery in India. They either use their hands or wheel to makes pottery. There are different styles or types of pottery in India.

    • Glazed pottery
    • Unglazed pottery
    • Terracotta
    • Papier-Mache

    Unglazed Pottery

    This is one of the ancient forms of pottery in India. There are three different types of unglazed glazed pottery.

    • Paper thin pottery with makes use of incised patterns.
    • Pottery made using the scraffito technique, which involves polishing and painting intricate patterns.
    • The third is polished pottery, which makes use of stylized patterns of arabesques.

    Glazed Pottery

    Glazed pottery is popular in many states in India. This kind of pottery has a white background and the patterns are green and blue. Delhi and Khurja are renowned for the blue pottery. This pottery does not use clay, instead, it is covered with finely ground glass and then fired.

    Terracotta

    This style of pottery is mainly involved sculptures. This form of pottery is commonly displayed in places of worship. In the rural parts of India, women make decorative sculptures to adorn their homes. During festivals, they also use clay to make idols of their gods and goddesses.

    Papier Mache

    Papier Mache is an old form of pottery in India. It makes use of pulp paper and adhesive solution. After soaking the paper in the solution for a few days, the paper is molded and painted.

  • Essence of pottery in India

    Pottery in India is considered as one of the most iconic elements of Indian regional art. Not just its history, but its exquisite beauty and chic features have made pottery, a modern form of Indian decor. Evidence of pottery in India dates back to Indus Valley Civilization. Pottery is quite famous in most of the Asian countries and gradually is spreading all over the world. History says that India is responsible for pottery art. In fact, there was a time when pottery was taken as the main source of income for the traditional Indian business class.

    History of pottery in India:

    Shreds of evidence of pottery have been found during  the Vedic period, Indus Valley Civilization and also during the Mughal Period. Vedic pottery is the example of the handmade and unpainted form of pottery. In fact, the pottery created during the vedic period, is raw in nature and very tangible. These pots were used to store water during summer. Later pottery was also used to manufacture kitchen utensils like plates, glasses, cups, and even saucepans.

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    During Indus Valley Civilization, pottery saw a little upliftment, though the Neolithic age in India shows the origin of pottery. Clay, the main raw material used to make pottery is abundantly available in the Indian subcontinent. Hence, the rise of pottery in India is very evident. Handmade pottery like bowls, utensils, vessels, in different colors like red, orange, brown, and black was abundantly available in India. Gradually pottery became a profession for Indians.

    With the rise of pottery culture in India, Indian pots were exported to different parts of the world. Red polished potteries are still widely found in Gujarat, Rajasthan and  West Bengal. The phase of painted pottery started in India during the 12 century, when Mughal period came into its existence. The Muslim rulers encouraged the potters from Persia, Central Asia and the Middle East to come and settle in India. It would be wrong to state that the rise of pottery actually started in India during the Mughal dynasty.

    The modern form of pottery in India:

    Modern India calls pottery as Terracotta painting. Though the Terracotta is a certain kind of material which is used to design different kinds of home decor items, pottery has also become a part of Terracotta handicrafts. The East Indian state, Orissa is the brand ambassador of Terracotta handicrafts. Earlier pots were used to store water during summers. However, pottery has become a mere source of earnings for Indians. In fact, the art of pottery has been included in the course curriculum of interior designing and sculpture paintings. The ancient art of pottery has today become a chic and modern way to design and decorate traditional Indian homes. The touch of Terracotta Handicrafts creates an ambiance of warmth inside the home.

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    Today Indian pottery comes in a variety of shapes and patterns. The ceramic artists from all over the globe are trying to adapt the Indian form of pottery. The ancient pottery art has become a contemporary form of Western pottery art. Though the Western style of pottery is a little different from that of the Indian time, both the forms are known as Modern Contemporary form of pottery.

  • Handicrafts of India

    In this age of mass production and abundance, handicrafts have stood the test of time and are a reason to celebrate the uniqueness of our culture and traditions. Indians, dating back to the early ages of civilizations, have developed handicrafts as a means of living. These handmade products are unique in their own style and every hand crafted product tells a story in a language of its own. Regional Handicrafts were developed using the materials available in that area using styles corresponding to their way of life. The hand crafted diyas from Tamil Nadu are very different from those made in Uttar Pradesh. Handicrafts are a part of our evolution and have molded and shaped our country’s rich cultural heritage.

    Weaves

    The exquisite art of weaving that differs from state to state is a story spoken without words. The Phulkari of the Punjab or the Chanderi of Madhya Pradesh or the Kota weaving style born in Rajasthan are all examples of handlooms spawned by the people of that region.

    Wood Carvings

    The well-known walnut-wood carvings of Kashmir, the Puri wooden masks, the intricately carved doors and windows of Himachal Pradesh, Mysore’s carved rosewood, the Miraj musical instruments of Maharashtra… every region has developed its own unique style of carvings adding on to the long list of exquisite wooden handicrafts.

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    Metal crafts

    Brass sculptures, bronze artifacts, copper wares, designed silver wares… India is one among the largest manufacturers of intricately designed metal crafts. The dark and beautiful bidriwares unparalleled in their richness or the chamleveenamel patterns of Lucknow and Varanasi are treasures known only to the Indians.

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    Pottery

    The famous blue pottery of Jaipur or the majestic terracotta horses or the beautiful dancing dolls of Tanjore or even the unique papier-mâché artifacts of Kashmir; India has come a long way in its pottery styles.

    Paintings

    These coloured stories frozen on canvases or on scrolls or even on walls and vases are artistic expressions synonymous to the lives of the people belonging to a particular region. The royal Tanjore paintings of Tamil Nadu, the magnificent Mughal paintings, the pattachitra styles of Odisha or the Rajputana legacies; these paintings come in varied hues and styles emphasized only by the strokes and materials used to create them.

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    Jewelry

    Jewelry in India has a deep emotional connect and the styles used in making them speaks volumes about the royal legacies and fashion statements. Tarkashi style inspired from the Greek and patronized by the Kashmiris, Meenakari work inspired by the Mughals, Kundan and Jadau jewelry patronized by the Rajputs, Thewa crafts practiced in Chittor, or the very beautiful Vadaseri style of South India famously known as temple jewelry are all exquisite arts in jewelry making.

    Stone Carvings

    Agra’s marble carvings or the beautifully sculpted granites of South India are examples of spectacular handiwork of Indian sculptors. Right from huge life-like sculptures to small, palm sized idols are available in different stones. Stone carved plates, boxes, lamps… you’d be amazed by the number of things that could be carved out of stone.

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    Right from ancient times, Indians have developed unique art forms and these valuable crafts have been our rich legacy unrivalled in its uniqueness and peerless in its beauty. A handicraft product is not just and art form but a part of the person making it. It is time we embrace this royal history of ours and patronize hand-crafted products much to the delight of our mute yet gracefully expressive artisans.

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