Pottery is the first synthetic craft material ever created by humans. The term refers to objects made of clay that have been fashioned into a desire shape, dried and either fired or baked to fix their form. Due to its abundance and durability, pottery is one of the most common types of items found by archaeologists during excavations and it has the potential of providing valuable information about the human past. Over the times, the material used in making of pottery has augmented and it is giving rise to many amazing forms of pottery art.
This is how an ancient pottery used to look like
Pottery, also called as ceramics or ceramic art – the creation of objects, is mainly for cooking or storage vessels, made out of clay and then hardened by heat. It is the first functional art to emerge during the Upper Paleolithic, after the creative art of body painting. The earliest form was Chinese Pottery. Like cave painting, the invention and development of pottery is a reflection of social, economic and environmental conditions – many of which are still poorly understood and a significant indicator of a society’s cultural development. Moreover, while the first ceramic vessels must have provided Stone Age hunter-gatherers with several new opportunities for cooking and consuming foods. We have almost no idea of how early pots were used besides the usual household utility.
Pottery is an important subcategory of Ceramics. Blue Pottery is Turko-Persian in origin, but today it is immensely popular as one of the beautiful crafts of Jaipur in Rajasthan. The use of blue glaze on pottery is an imported technique. It was first developed by Mongol artisans who combined Chinese glazing technology with Persian decorative arts. This technique travelled east to India with early Turkic conquests in the 14th century. During this very time, it was used to make tiles for mosques, tombs and palaces. There is an interesting story about how Blue Pottery found its way to Jaipur. Sawai Ram Singh II attended a kite flying session and watched as his kite masters were engaged in battle with two brothers from Achnera (near to Agra). When the ruler saw that the brothers managed to bring down the royal kites almost every time, he was fascinated. He asked the brothers the secret behind it. They told him that they were potters by profession and had coated their strings with same blue green glass that they used for their pots. Sawai Ram Singh II was so much impressed that he invited the brothers to stay in Jaipur and teach this unique form of glazed pottery at his new art school. This is how Blue Pottery was introduced in India in early 19th Century.
Blue Pottery had expansive potential and should have flourished, but with time the master potters refused to disclose their trade secrets with their fellow workmen so there was an eventual lowering of standards and a steady dying out of the craft. Over the years the craft was kept alive by the Royal Highness Gayatri Devi who widely promoted Blue Pottery. The craft received a much needed boost in 1960’s as internationally renowned artist; Kripal Singh Shekhawat entered the field of Blue Pottery and erected it toward new highs.
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The word ceramic comes from an ancient Greek word for “burned earth”. Ceramics are made by heating the clay in an oven called kiln or furnace. The process of ceramic production began thousands of years ago. The earliest ceramics were ornamental rather than practical. This indicates that from the very beginning, ceramics have been prized for its aesthetic qualities. Ceramics have, however, become more functional. Today, they are still used to create beautiful objects such as garden statues, figurines, or decorative tiles. However, they are also used to create products like electrical insulators, fibre optics, and of course, dishes. A ceramic object is not necessarily of a lesser quality than a porcelain one.
Rural Artisan Making Ceramic Pottery
Ceramics is immensely popular among all the art lovers predominantly because of its amazing texture. Even in the times of metal industry the ceramics have preserved its importance.
Efforts by manufacturers to perfect the production of porcelain have led to the development of many new higher quality ceramics. Ceramics have very innate charm in their presence. There are many interesting variants of ceramics available in International market like Blanc de Chine, Chinese Ceramics, English Delftware, Chinoiserie, Meissen Porcelain, and Willow Pattern among many others.
Various types of Ceramic
Among the many noteworthy facts about Ceramics following are few which makes it so interesting:
- Ceramic is dense and blocks light passing through.
- The colour on ceramics helps to determine the types of clay used in making it.
- It is often thicker and that’s how it has a sturdy appearance.
- Ceramic is always porous to be watertight unless it is glazed. If un-glazed, the texture is often chalky and grainy.
People who are fond of collecting porcelain often get confused with ceramics. Yes, all ceramics are porcelain but not all porcelains are ceramic. One needs a fine eye to find out the authenticity of a ceramic. Blue Pottery also shares this similarity with ceramics. Having a collection of genuine Blue Pottery or Ceramics is one kind of a treasure itself.