Different Types of Pottery From India Ruling The Global Handicraft Market

Several world heritage days and weeks occur every year, prompting us to reflect on our country’s variety. Beyond the gleaming world of jewels in Jaipur and Kanjeevaram sarees, there are a slew of medieval and ancient practices that, are on the verge of extinction. Beautiful designs of pots, toys, decorations, and divinities indicate a community’s heritage and links to the outside world. We’ve identified four distinct Indian pottery traditions that are traditional. You can also learn and explore more about it on Craftezy.

Molela Murtikala from Rajasthan

Molela Murtikala from Rajasthan

Molela, located in the Rajsamand district, appears to many as an unremarkable village. It is situated in the shadow of Udaipur, some 15 kilometres away. However, the area has a population of artisans who have created a name for themselves by establishing the Molela murtikala art style, which involves the creation of votive terracotta idols for use on flat surfaces such as tiles and plaques.

It has a one-of-a-kind art style and a one-of-a-kind audience: Madhya Pradesh’s tribal populations! 

  • Tribals arrive at the start of the year to buy the brilliantly painted clay plaques from these potters, following a tradition that dates back generations. 
  • Because a priest accompanies them, the shopping binge is ritualistic. It usually centres on obtaining plaques representing the deities Devnarayan and Nagaraja, with specific colours allocated to each God. 
  • Every year, the votives are replaced, and it is thought that they safeguard the tribals from lousy luck. 
  • In Rajasthan, demand for Molela murtikala spikes during harvest and festival seasons. Potters prefer to dry the clay in the gentle winter sun. 
  • In addition to fitting religious needs, they also create scenes portraying the nature around them.

Interesting Fact: It’s worth noting that the entire procedure is carried out by hand; no potter’s wheel is used. 

Instead, men shape and adorn the murtis. At the same time, women manufacture the clay mixture with soil from the surrounding Banas river, animal faeces, and rice husk.

However, the practice isn’t enough to keep the people afloat beyond the festive seasons, and many have turned to agriculture to support their families. Although the art genre has acquired some traction, it still has a limited level of general visibility. 

  • In 2012, artist Mohanlal Chandrabhuj Kumar was awarded the Padma Shri to popularise and preserve this centuries-old practice; he also founded the Mohan Terracotta Art Research & Development Centre, where you can see demonstrations, workshops, and exhibitions. 
  • Mukhesh Prajapat, the Bhairav Terracotta Art Centre owner, is another award-winning craftsman. Molela’s lovely reliefs were also painted on an entire wall of the Udaipur train station, piquing the interest of those who passed by.

Bidriware is a Pottery Product of Karnataka.

Bidriware is a Pottery Product of Karnataka.

Hookahs, crucifixes, and washbasins all have something in common. They’re all used in the production of bidriware, a stunning type of black pottery created nearly exclusively in Bidar, the Deccan’s ancient capital. Bidriware is manufactured using a process called ‘damascening,’ in which pure silver designs are carved into pieces composed of an alloy of zinc, copper, earth, and non-ferrous metals. It was encouraged by the city’s Bahmanid kings some 400 years ago. The pieces are then dipped in a unique mixture made with soil from the Bidar Fort, which oxidises the alloy and turns it into a beautiful black colour.

The silver designs stand out, with creepers and flowers, geometric patterns, and human forms. The finished products are divided into two categories: the-Nishan, which features deeply cut motifs, and zar-Nishan, which mimics Thanjavur’s encrusted items, according to the Karnataka State Handicrafts Development Corporation. We’ll take this particular comparison at face value because the state has the most significant number of GI-tag products in the country.

Compared to other indigenous crafts, bidriware artists have a higher earning potential. We’re unsure if the city was called after the handicraft or the other way around. However, despite the lack of knowledge and a small number of artisans, it’s still a significant status symbol and a major decorative export to the United States, Europe, and Gulf countries. It also has a prominent place in physical, historical collections—we just visited the National Museum in Delhi to see the renowned (and very extensive) display.

Terracotta Pottery from West Bengal

Terracotta Pottery from West Bengal

Show a Bengali a picture of the Bankura horse, and they’ll show you a picture of their living room in exchange. It’s one of the most well-known forms of West Bengal’s rich tradition of terracotta pottery. However, it may be found in every family, whether a tabletop variation or an eight-foot-high sculpture.

The kumbhakars are Bengal’s traditional potters. They make anything from terracotta pots to toys, sculptures, wind chimes, and temple panels. At the same time, most terracotta is considered finished after a burnt red wash. As a result, you’ll find numerous intricately painted goods with scenes from epics, nature, and folk stories at craft meals and exhibitions. Because the kumbhakars commonly employ a clear division of labour: the men operate the wheel and manufacture whatever is feasible on it, while the women produce the round bottoms of pots, more miniature figurines, and dolls, and paint bright themes, while women do the majority of the final touches.

Bankura, Murshidabad, Nadia, Digha, Bishnupur, Burdwan, and Hooghly have terracotta temple embellishments. Horses, elephants, monkeys, and other animals were once utilized in village rituals to grant wishes, but they now serve as decorative items. However, the construction of ‘ghats,’ or fortunate pottery, in Bengal’s terracotta pottery retains religious ties. They’re well-known in the state, but they’re hardly heard of outside the Ganga delta. The goddess of riches Lakshmi (typically combined with one for Ganesh), Krishna and Radha (known as tulsimancha), and Manasha, the snake goddess (whose face is accompanied by hooded snakes), are all famous ghats.

Black Clay Pottery of Uttar Pradesh

Black Clay Pottery of Uttar Pradesh

Nizamabad’s black clay pottery is thought to have sprung from Kutch’s artistic traditions, which came to Uttar Pradesh during Aurangzeb’s rule. The product is supposed to be “100% export-oriented.” Still, artisans in the Azamgarh and Mau districts, the primary centres for potters, have yet to achieve a comfortable degree of recognition, respect, and job stability.

This pottery tradition resembles Karnataka’s bidriware in appearance, but the manufacturing process is entirely different. Bidriware is manufactured with an eight-step casting method partly based on metallurgy. In contrast, Nizamabad’s pottery is made with finely textured native clay from ponds. First, the articles, consisting of utensils, religious figurines, and decorative items, are washed with powdered vegetable matter and then rubbed with mustard oil. Sharp twigs are then used to chisel out patterned grooves, after which the pottery is smoke burned in confined kilns with rice husks. The gleaming black surface is due to the soot. Next, the tracks are filled with a silvery powder of zinc, mercury, or other metal amalgams after another round of rubbing and baking, followed by a final round of polishing.

Khavda Pottery is located in Gujarat.

Khavda Pottery is located in Gujarat

Gujarat’s khavda pottery, created only from a type of clay called ‘Rann ki mitti’ located in Ludia village in Bhuj, has been covered briefly. The pottery’s history and current situation, on the other hand, deserve a second look. Would you believe us if we told you it’s a long-standing custom dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization?

Surprisingly, the khavda pottery style matches over 5,000-year-old pottery excavated in Harappa and Mohenjo Daro. Men mould the ‘rann ki mitti’ into kitchenware and decorative objects after the class has made its way to the Kutch region. The pottery is then coated in a thin wash of geru, a native soil, which gives it a soft, warm colour. Women then use bamboo twigs to embellish the products with dots of clay-based paint (red, white, and black). Nature is frequently the source of inspiration for designs.

However, writing about khavda potters in the plural is a mistake because the tradition is currently carried alive in the community by a single-family. Only Abdul Ibrahim, his wife Rahima, and his mother are still working as artists; the rest have moved on to more stable sources of income. Nevertheless, with considerable difficulty, the family maintains the trade as a labour of love, relying on commissions, workshops, and visiting tourists to keep their business afloat.

When it comes to our country’s hyperlocal pottery traditions, these five traditions are merely the tip of the iceberg. Supporting local artists is a crucial component of keeping these cultures alive, as it always has been.

Get These Beautiful Pottery Styles on Craftezy Platforms

Get These Beautiful Pottery Styles on Craftezy Platforms

All these pottery styles are great for your home decor as well. These look so beautiful that one can’t resist buying them once seen. Craftezy is an online marketplace for handicrafts that aspires to digitise the entire purchasing and selling of handicrafts for traders worldwide. All the Indian handicraft pottery items are available with us at a fair and affordable price. Please check out our website for more information about Indian handmade potteries that are famous worldwide.

Main Menu