Jaipur is an ancient city of traditions and exotic art. Crafts are an inherent part of this city. The craftsmen here are world-famous for sculpting stunning handicrafts solely with their hands. Some of the handicrafts of Jaipur have even earned international fame for their beauty and quality. Every tourist who comes to unleash the flavours of this city is always enchanted by these art pieces. These artifacts are a reflection of tradition and legacy of the Pink city. If you are visiting Jaipur and are thinking about what is the best traditional handicraft item to take back with you to your homeland, it is the Jaipur Blue Pottery.
Nothing can compare to the contentment we get with buying beautiful blue pottery as a souvenir. It is an unmatched piece of sheer beauty that is the most attractive, ethnic and trendy items of the state. It has now become the identity of Jaipur. This unique vivid blue and turquoise colored pottery with unique designs and patterns have spellbound millions.
Know about the Blue Pottery
The blue pottery is an age-old craft form that is widely accolades as a traditional craft of Jaipur. It is a surprising fact, even though it is a Turko-Persian in derivation and is not originate in Jaipur, it has become synonymous to the city. The Blue pottery name yields out of the blue-color dye that illustrates the pottery. The Blue pottery is made from ground quartz stone. It employs a special color scheme where there is an abundance of blue, green and white hues. While use of white, brown and yellow non-conventional colors are also seen occasionally. You can find these art pieces with unique floral designs, handmade motifs, bird and animal patterns. Though artisans are now adapting new designs to enhance the craft, they are keen on keeping their traditional ways. The exquisite Blue pottery stands out among all other crafts in Jaipur.
The existence of the blue pottery comprises tales dating back to thousands of years of the queens and kings associated with the stories of a particular culture and heritage. Blue Pottery is the art that traveled all the way long from Persia. The technique of using blue glaze on pottery is imported. It was first developed by Mongol artisans who combined Chinese glazing technology with Persian decorative arts. This approach of giving a blue shiny finish traveled to east India with ancient Muslim rulers in the 14th century.
Earlier, this technology was used to make tiles to embellish mosques, tombs, and palaces in Central Asia. The Mughals later started to employ them in India to impersonate their structures in India. Gradually the blue glaze technique grew beyond an architectural accessory and found its place in the hands of Indian potters. From there, the technique traveled to Delhi. Later, in the 17th century, the method was carried to the pink city of Jaipur.
How Jaipur housed Blue pottery
Blue pottery came to Jaipur in the early 19th century. It obtained much patronage under Maharaja Ram Singh Ji who first introduced it to the state. He sent local artisans to Delhi to be trained in the craft. Some illustrations of older artwork can be seen in the Rambagh Palace, where the fountains are lined with beautiful blue tiles. These tiles were also utilized in constructing the city of Jaipur. However, its popularity almost dipped in 1950 and it was on the verge of its extinction. This happened because the chief potters refused to share their secrets with their fellow craftsmen. But it was soon revived by the joint efforts of artist Kripal Singh Shaktawat, Rajmata Gayatri Devi of Jaipur and Kamladevi Chattopadhaya, a social reformer.
Blue pottery soon caught the local people’s interest and many started learning this craft soon, most of the Kumhar (pottery) families also shifted from working on red clay to blue pottery later, on a larger scale. Eventually, the blue pottery craft flourished in and around Jaipur. At the moment, blue pottery is an industry that offers a good source of revenue to several people in Jaipur.
This blue pottery technique is an imported one as it combines Chinese glazing technology with Persian decorative arts. An Egyptian paste is used to create this famous Jaipur blue pottery. Firstly, this Egyptian paste is cautiously glazed and low-fired. Firing at low temperature makes them fragile and brittle. This is an art-form that stands apart from all other forms of pottery. The fact is that it is the only pottery that is not made using the usual clay like the other pottery.
The blue pottery is prepared from special Egyptian paste or ‘dough’ made by combining powdered glass, quartz stone powder, Multani Mitti (Fuller’s Earth), gum, borax, and water. This dough is flattened and pressed into a mold and set properly by filling with ash and pressing gently to get the desired shape. After this, any extra doughdough left is scraped away using a knife. Once this is done, the mould is removed by turning it upside down. The product is then left to dry with the ash for one or two days.
Then comes the step of hand-painting the pottery with oxide colours. The blue colour is derived from cobalt oxide and green colour from copper oxide by mixing with sugar or salt. The mixture is then heated in a furnace. Furthermore, this colour is used to create graceful patterns and motifs on the basic white artefacts. One has to be very careful while carrying out the design as it is impossible to rework on these pieces. The finished piece is dipped into a glaze of powdered glass, borax, zinc oxide, potassium nitrate, and boric acid. When the dried pottery is ready, it is fired at 800-850 degrees Celsius for almost six hours. This process is done in a closed clay and brick kiln fuelled by wood or charcoal. Lastly, it is left to cool for three days. Any rapid temperature change may cause cracks. The entire process takes approximately 15-20 days.
Variety of Items
Today, this art is not limited to just tiles and pots. There is an endless range of products combining elegance and functionality are available. Its eye catchy designs and patterns are amazingly handcrafted and are a center of attraction. Different Jaipur blue pottery items you can purchase are Pottery Knobs, Ceramic Tiles, Wedding Gifts, Corporate Gifts, ornamental items, Animal Figures, Jewelry Box, Lamps, Ash Tray, Bathroom Set, Mug, Paper Weight, Candle Holder, Planter, Coaster, Sugar Pot, Cups and Saucers, Tea Set, Dinnerware, Tiles, Diya, Tray, Incense Holder, Vase, Jar, Urns, napkin rings and many more.
This comes as no surprise that with so much craftsmanship, this art has famed all around since its inception. Blue pottery has grown to a grand industry where it provides a livelihood to many people. Neerja International, Kripal Kumbh, and Sanganer is the largest Manufacturer and Exporter of Blue Pottery in Jaipur. The traditional pottery designs are blended with innovative shapes and designs that have been modernized over a period of time.
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