Clay craft is probably the earliest of man's creations. Clay pottery is an ancient art form in India dating back to well over 10,000 years. The clay objects found at the excavation sites of the Indus Valley Civilisation point to the high quality of skill and technology of the Indian potter. Jhuker Pottery was related with the people of the Harappan towns like Amri and Chanhudaro situated in Sind.    The Red Ware was the most popular type of pottery during the late-Vedic period.  It has been discovered from many archaeological sites in western Uttar Pradesh.  The Painted Grey Ware was another distinctive form of pottery of the Vedic times that consisted of bowls and dishes, which were used for rituals and for eating.  The appearance of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBP) marked the beginning of the second phase of urbanisation in India.  This was a very glossy and shiny type of pottery made of very fine fabric.

Pottery has been called the lyric of handicrafts because of its irresistible and universal appeal. There is a wide range of clay crafts in India. The Bengali Surai or the common jug; Alwar's Kagzi or paper pottery; Bikaner's painted pottery; the colourful Khurja pottery of Uttar Pradesh; the glazed tiles of Chunar and Chinhat in Uttar Pradesh; the clay ware of Himachal Pradesh in its various forms like gidya, patri and narele; the large-sized storage articles of Khanapur in Belgaum district of Karnataka; Saurashtra's beautiful earthenware made of gopichandan; the dal gate pottery of Srinagar and the unique Karigiri pottery of south Arcot made up of white low-fusing china clay called namakatte are but few examples of the diversity and richness of clay craft in India. The popular but rather unusual Blue pottery of Jaipur was introduced from Persia in the mid-19th century. Another interesting variety of pottery is the Pokran pottery, which combines beautiful moulded forms with interesting geometrical patterns. Black pottery, lac-coated terracotta, temple bricks, decorative roof tiles, lamp- shades and ornaments are some of the other wonderful earthenware of India.

Terracotta is a porous and brittle material formed by the low heat of a traditional Indian kiln.  Created by the interaction of earth, water and fire, this medium has  found expression through almost every period of Indian history.  Most terracotta art and pottery is produced by moulding objects by hand or on the wheel and firing them in an open oven. A smoother finish, when needed, is given by rubbing and polishing the surface with wooden palettes or stones while it is still wet. The terracotta tradition of creating figures of deities on ceremonial and auspicious occasions brings out the religious nature of their pottery. Terracotta sculpture was also commonly used in architectural edifices. The temples of Bishnupur, Murshidabad, Birbhum and Hooghly in West Bengal, the Buddhist viharas of Pala period and some mosques of the Mughal period are beautiful examples of the use of terracotta in architecture.













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