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Indian Blue Pottery from jaipur Who is not in love with the traditional Indian pottery? The pottery making art has deep roots in Indian history and it is one of the most substantial elements of Indian culture. If we look back, we can trace this tradition to Indus Valley Civilization. The artisans showcased their expertise by using clay and molding it to create various types of toys and idols of God and Goddesses.
At this time, the farmers had learned how to cultivate crops and being agriculture oriented country, different shapes and sizes of pots were required to store grains, seeds, and water. The invention of the wheel changed their lives and men started to use potter’s wheel to create diverse kinds of pots.
Few remains found by archaeologists in the Harappan civilization depicts that potters had a special place in the society. This ancient craft was quite superior even at that time. Some research shows that the potters use to have the Rectangular oven for firing the product. We have also found some seals and grain containers which portray that those potters were quite skillful and wonderful craftsmen.
From that day onwards, the Indian pottery artisans have not looked back. Today India is very famous for the traditional potteries and people all over the world admire this ethnic art. Not only those, as of now more than a million potters have found their home and roots in our country. That figure says a lot about the popularity of this prehistoric craft.
However, use of pottery is not limited to storage. If you ask me, I feel that pottery is a medium to express oneself, just like any other arts. Man can convey various things and emotions through this powerful medium. Needless to say, the art of shaping, and baking clay articles and then paint and decorate them with various colors touch the wide spectrum of skill and since thousands of years, one of the most important medium.
Over the span of time, this art has taken many forms like clay pottery, blue pottery, and terracotta pottery. It is still practiced on a large scale in India. It has blossomed in new directions and today thousands of potters depend on this art for their bread-butter. The online market and boutiques have played a huge role in creating awareness about this ancient art. In this article; we are going to have a look at the elements of the magnificent Blue pottery and ceramics.
First of all, let’s see what Blue pottery is.
As a beautiful rich blue dye is used to paint this type of pottery, it is given the name ‘Blue Pottery’. Most of us think that Blue Pottery has been originated from Jaipur. However, you might be surprised to learn that it actually started off from Turko-Persia.
Let’s have a look at the history of Blue Pottery
Blue pottery stands out from other kinds of potteries due to the blue glaze. Did you know that coloring the pottery with a blue glaze is an imported method? Yes, the blue ceramic has a rich history. As we now know the excavations at Harappan and Mohenjo-Daro sites have found some remains of it. But the origin goes back to Persia during the time of Shah Tamas and Abbas. These kings wanted to sell the blue pottery abroad to European countries. They needed some extra bucks to help their kingdom.
To do so they even got some expert Chinese potters. However, the Chinese potters were unable to produce the same type of pots because the clay was different. So when heated, these pots changed colors. While the Persian craftsmen had knowledge about luster of different hues, the Chinese potter was not skilled enough to use it in a practical way.
Later, the tradition of glazed blue pottery traveled to India through Persia. It was first the Mongol artisans who used Chinese glazing technology with Persian decorative arts. Soon the art reached India in the 14th century during Turkic invasions. At this time, this skill was still in the early developing stage and it was mostly used to deck up palaces and tombs of royals and mosques.
After some time, slowly the Moughals also started to use this technique in India and over a period of time, the method started to grow. As more and more potters adapted to this process, it didn’t stay limited to just royal architectures. An Iranian Potter shifted to Delhi and soon the art spread among others. From there, it traveled to Jaipur during the 17th century.
With the passage of time, the art faced many changes. Once the old-fashioned Mughal king Aurangzeb came to the throne, bad days started for this magnificent craft.
History says that it was during the king of Jaipur Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh’s time (1835‐1880) that the art started to flourish again. Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh was deeply interested in handicrafts and various traditional forms of art. He sent two local artists to Delhi, just to get the special training in pottery under the guidance of the well-known potter Bhola.
Later on, Sawai Ram Singh even started a school of art. He invited all the artists and craftsmen from various corners of our country to join the school. He also helped them to settle in Jaipur and follow the art.
Even today, we can still find some of the old ceramic work in the Rambagh Palace, Jaipur. You can see that the craftsmen have lined few fountains with famous blue tiles.
It was sad when during the 1950s; the most exquisite and best known blue pottery art started its downfall and then almost disappeared from Jaipur in no time.
At that time, only one family knew this antique craft and they guarded the secret so well that the method was almost about to die.
However, in 1963, Maharani Gayatri Devi opened the Sawai Ram Singh Art Center. It was sponsored by all India Handicrafts Board and Maharani Gayatri Devi. The school used to give a stipend of Rs. 100 to the person who was ready to learn the art of creating blue pottery.
Later on due to the efforts of Kamaladevi who convinced the muralist and painter Kripal Singh Shekhawat that he should be a head of this school, the art again started to thrive.
Today loads of families practice this art and many pottery schools can be found all across the state of Rajasthan.
We will now discuss what kind of materials and tools are used to produce the world-famous blue pottery.
Material and tools:
Quite similar to an Egyptian faience, Jaipur blue pottery is also glazed and then baked at low fire. Do you know that to make blue pottery, the potter doesn’t use clay? Yes, this is astonishing fact but true. Unlike other kinds of potteries, the blue pottery is not made using the clay. Actually, the artisan makes a special form of dough by combining various things like Fuller's Earth, gum, stone powder, Edible Flour, glass, borex, Boric Acid, Potassium Nitrate, water and soda bicarbonate etc.
Given below is a description of tools that are used for making blue pottery -
• Potter’s wheel to attach the base
• Different types and designs of moulds (usually made from POP),
• Various types and sizes of brushes to draw, paint and fill the colors
• Grinding machine,
• Sand paper to level the surface of product
• Knife to cut the extra dough
• Broom to dust off the excess dust
• Heating Kiln to dry the products
• Flattening tool to flatten the dough
Which Colors are used for the pottery?
In India, Blue color is quite popular. It is often associated with various elements of nature like sky and sea. Also, we all know that Bhagwan Krishna had the blue color. This color has a calming effect on people. One of the most popular colors, blue is a color of motivation and it also reflects peace and tranquility. This serene and sedate color invokes calming hormones in the body. Hence having a dash of blue color around us is good for health.
Blue pottery and ceramics use two types of colors –
1. Oxide colors: This includes the oxides like cobalt oxide, copper oxide, chrome oxide, cadmium oxide etc. The Cobalt Oxide gives dark blue color; the copper oxide is for light blue, the chrome oxide gives green color while the cadmium oxide gives a bright yellow color.
2. Ferro colors: These colors are used to produce different shades of yellow and brown.
Which types of products are made using Blue Pottery and ceramics?
Previously only different shapes and sizes of storage containers and pots were available on the market. But now with the latest innovation in the industry, you can find many decorative items like small bowls, key holders, coasters, plates and glasses, toothpaste and pen stand, crockery, ashtrays, door knobs, tea cup sets, cups and saucers, flower pots, serving plates, soap boxes, tiles, lamp shades and many types of home accessories.
Most of these articles showcase animal, bird or flower motifs. Nowadays artisans are even experimenting with some contemporary designs.
Which communities still practices this craft and produce blue pottery?
Jaipur is still the main hub for this craft. There are 25 to 30 units which depend on this art for their livelihood. However, except the Jaipur, some other states and cities like Amritsar, Rampur, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Punjab, and U.P. also produce blue pottery and ceramics. By and large few castes like Khaarwaal, Kumbars, Bahairva, and Nat still practices this ethnic art.
Needless to say, this industry has been growing day by day, providing work to many. The rich colors and exquisite designs set the blue pottery apart from other pottery items. It has now even earned a place in the household as a decorative item.
With the advent of latest technology, many changes have come in the way these potteries are crafted. Previously the glaze coating used to contain lead. Because lead is harmful to health, such pieces were not used as cookware. But now the artisans use the lead-free glaze for finishing. As a result, now many regular kitchen items are available as a blue pottery.
As the times have changed, so are the traditional designs. They have now given way to abstract, geometrical, intricate or fabric designs.
The distinct appearance and perfect fusion of color and style have gained a special place for blue pottery and ceramics in the market. At Craftghar, we represent a colorful world of intricate designs that are unmatched and have a royal look. Our collection has everything from pickle and chutney jars, oil dispensers, toothbrush and soap dishes, to tea sets, cup and saucer sets, salt and pepper set, flower vases, cutlery stand, casseroles, serving bowls and many other items which reflect excellence at an affordable price. You will find many cheap variants of such products in the market. But remember that at Craftghar, each piece goes through a quality check as we always strive to meet the high industry standards.
These products are handmade, eco-friendly and also represent many timeless designs and hues of colors that you would love to cherish.
You might wonder that how can you buy such items without actually seeing them? But that is not true. Today we all have little time at our hand to actually go, touch and feel the products before we buy them. Nowadays everyone looks for the best products at a reasonable price and at Craftghar, we give you a chance to shop to your heart’s content, that too, by sitting in the comforts of your own home as you browse our wide-ranging product collection What else can you ask for?
When you buy a piece of this ancient art, you are also indirectly helping those workers who don’t know how to sell online. They work hard to earn and yet many of them are going through a hard phase. Your purchase also helps to keep their home fire burning and to keep this primordial art alive. What are you waiting for? Just browse our wide-range of blue pottery and ceramics and take your pick!