History of
Indian Crafts
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Indian Crafts >> Clay Work
Clay Work
Indian Crafts - Clay Work
History of Clay Work

Nizamabad is a small town situated about 100 km (62 miles) north of Varanasi on the river Tons, which feeds several lakes on the outskirts of the town. In the mid-17th century Muslim invaders attacked this town, which was originally called Hanumantgarh (Hindu), changing the name to Nizamabad. Potters were invited from Gujrat by the Rulers. The highly decorative silver inlay incorporated into the pottery here has developed through the influence of bidri metal work brought in by the Muslims from Hyderabad.

Clay has been used by human since pre-historic times. Khurja is small town in Western U.P, is hemmed by rivers Ganga & Yamuna. Historically, it is a opined when Timur had attacked Delhi in 1839, he had few skilled potters in his army, who stayed back in Delhi They started to practise the craft of Blue pottery with Persian designs and colours in these areas. A small cluster from these potter families in Delhi shifted to Khurja in the reign of Mohammad Bin Tuglaq, about 600 years ago. These potters started with red clay pottery. Later they introduced blue glazers on red clay articles with a coating of white clay.
Fine Art
The vessels are jet black in colour, with silvery floral pattern which gives an impression of bidri ware. The superior black colour of the pottery of Azamgarh has a distinct charm.

Chunar potters use only red oxide glaze and make flower vases, animals, birds, marketing stations. Since the lead content is more, the eatable cannot be served. Nowadays plastic have replaced these items
Clay is moistened with water for a night, kneaded with hands or feet for a short span. This clay is then thrown on the potters wheel and the potters hand gives them the shape. The earthenware is dipped into the solution of yellow clay and sajji mitti (crude carbonate of soda) locally called kabiz. After drying of this solution, mustard oil is applied on to it for burnishing. A sharp floral twig engraves design. The object is fired. A lustrous glaze effect engraves on the pot. The final ornamentation is the inlay work. Bukani (a prepared mixture of lead, zinc and mercury) is rubbed into engraved lines with thumb. A lustrous effect is produced by the evolution of a dark oxide by the solution (mixture of yellow clay and crude carbonate of soda). For a further shiny ornamentation, a mixture of tin and mercury is applied on the engraved design.

The moulded forms are made by using a mixture of red clay, china clay, feldspar, glass, and edible gum. The red surface of the moulded object is dried, coated with white clay and then smoothened. Mineral colours such as cobalt oxide for blue, copper oxide for green, iron oxide for brown, manganese oxide for pink are used for painting the surface in order of their hardness & the choice of the finished shade of the object. The designs may be floral, geometric or abstract. The object is then glazed and fired to bring out the rich forms in various shapes and sizes.In Meerut, a mould of the desired object is made in plaster of paris on a lathe. A solution of clay in water, made in a ration of 3:7 is poured into the mould. After 30-45 minutes, the mould absorbs, the water of clay solution and the clay attains the mould form. The handle is made out from a separate mould. It is attached to the vessel in a moist condition. It is dipped in a glaze solution of iron oxide, barium oxide, borex marble powder. Then it is fired at about 1150 degree Celcius.
Basic Material : Pili mitti (yellow clay), sajji mitti (crude carbonate of soda), vegetable matter, vegetable oil.
Decorative Material : Mixture of tin, zinc and mercury.

Basic Material : Red clay (traditional), china clay, ball clay, plastic clay, glass, gum.
Decorative Material : Feldspar, quartz, marble or calcite, zinc oxide, barium carbonate.
Colouring Material : Blue & black (copper or cobalt oxide), brown (iron oxide), pink or violet (manganese oxide), green (copper & chromoxide).
Potter wheel, string for cutting.

Jars, ghadda /matka (pots), dishes, handi (cooking vessels), bowls, surahis, containers, beakers, jugs, vases, incense holders and plates.

Hookas (pipes), surahis, vessels, flower vase, crockery, industrial ceramics.

Indian Crafts : History of Clay Work