POTTERY, TERRACOTTA AND PAPIER MACHE
A potter in work
The art of handling
of clay called Pottery was one of the earliest skills known to the Indians.
From time immemorial, lumps of clay were hand -moulded to form toys and
deities of worship.
The advent of the Potter's wheel gave man the task of
making beautifully shaped pots for his personal use. The movement of the
wheel and the pressure exerted by the hands on the clay gives new shapes
Although the art of glazing pottery
was known in India from ancient times, the finest pottery in India is of the
unglazed variety. This unglazed pottery has a wide range. Very fine paper-thin
pottery is produced in Kutch, Kanpur and Alwar. Alwar is known for paper-thin
pottery called Kagzi.
There are three different styles
in unglazed pottery.
- Paper thin, biscuit
colored pottery with incised patterns.
- Here the pot is polished, painted
with red and white slips into intricate patterns while the outline is incised.
The scrafito technique is
- In this style, highly polished
pottery is given strong, deeply incised, stylized patterns of arabesques.
The rest of the area is covered with rows of black dots and the contrast in
color and texture gives the incised area greater prominence.
Kangra and Andreta inHimachal Pradesh,
Pokhran in Rajasthan, Meerut and Harpur in Uttar Pradesh, Kanpur in Maharastra,
Kutch in Gujarat, Jahjjar in Haryana, Birbhum in Bengal and Manipur are famous
for their special styles in pottery. Each region has its own specialty.
Kangra is noted for
resembles the Harappan pottery style.
Pokhran has stylized forms
with incised decorative patterns. Kanpur makes thin pottery with incised
designs. Meerut and Jhajjar make slim necked water containers called surahis.
These are half -turned and half -moulded and have a variety of patterns
and designs. Kutch is famous for pots, terracotta horses and elephants.
The pots are made for different occasions like marriages, death, etc.
Nizamabad in Uttar Pradesh
is noted for black pottery with silver patterns worked in it. This is
similar to the Bidar work of Andhra where oxidized gunmetal is inlaid
with silver wire.
Ceramic pots of Jaipur put up for sale
In India, the making
of Glazed pottery came into being with the advent of the Arab influence
in India. Only a few centers in India are known for its production. Glazed
pottery with white background and blue and green patterns is developed in
Delhi, Amritsar, Jaipur, Khurja, Chunar and Rampur in Uttar Pradesh, and
Karigari in Tamilnadu.
Marble inlay works
Delhi, Khurja and Jaipur are
known for the famed Blue Pottery
This does not involve the usage of clay. First, the basic forms are created
and then they are painted on the surface.
Then it is covered with finely
ground glass and fired. Jaipur and Delhi follow this method whereas Khurja
and Rampur prepare the base from red clay and then fire it.
In Chunar, the raised designs
in Surahis are adapted for glazed pottery. A brown slip is given finally.
In Karigari in Tamilnadu, biscuit
ware is created with incised patterns and given a blue or green glaze.
Clay toys common in India.
Terracotta works used
The rural parts of India commonly
display terracotta animal figures in places of worship or under the mango or
pipal trees in the vicinity of temples. The potters mostly do the terracotta
figures. In some parts of Indian villages, the women folk create their own forms
of Gods for worship and other decorative pieces for adorning their houses.
In Bihar, Bengal and Gujarat,
during festivals, the women prepare clay figures to propitiate their Gods
The relief- worked plague of
Moela in Rajasthan has a distinct style. Here on flat surface local deities
are created with moulded clay. They are then fired and then painted brilliant
Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh
has villages where clay figures of animals are done. The potter creates
the basic form by throwing separate pieces on the wheel and then joining
Tamilnadu is famous for the
terracotta figures of the Aiyanar Deity. The figures are huge and they
are found standing guard at the entrances of villages protecting the insiders
from evil spirits.
Gujarat also has votive figures
like horses with riders, etc.
In the year 1398, when India was
invaded by Tamur Lane, Sultan Sikander sent his son to pay tribute to the invader.
Tamur lane betrayed the agreement of his alliance with the Sultan and made his
son a hostage in Samarkhand for seven years.
Many craftsmen from Central Asia
and Persia had accompanied Tamur Lane to India and were placed in Samarkhand
as well. There this young dynamic Prince saw the strange craft made of paper
pulp. He learnt the art and later when he became the king after his father's
death, spread this art among the craftsmen of his region.
A Fish pattern made
of Papier Mache
The base of this
craft is paper pulp coarsely mashed and mixed with copper sulphate and rice-flour
paste. Then moulded by covering the mould with a thin paper and then with
layers of this mixture. The designers then sketch the designs intricately
and finally it is laquered and polished in bright colors. A touch of golden
color is always found on all papier-mache products owing its root to the