teracotta rajasthan

Terracotta work in rajasthan

What makes Rajasthan Terracotta idols special?
Terracotta is one of the oldest art forms known to human civilization. The terracotta craft is widespread in Rajasthan since the time of Indus Valley Civilization. Starting utensils for cooking to storage of water to decorative Terracotta pieces Rajasthan is famous for its extraordinary style.
The terracotta industry was established in Rajasamand district and since then the district has witnessed the development of it. Primarily the terracotta art form indulges in making the idols of gods and goddesses. These eco-friendly idols are hollow from inside. Moreover, the hollow design prevents crack formation and helps in reducing clay requirement.
The Beginning
The terracotta art form is 1500-1700 years old. In ancient times, every village had a number of potters who specialized in the terracotta art. This artwork was introduced to the world by Persian ruler Chengiz Khan after his invasion of China in 1212 AD. The terracotta art has developed a lot in last few years and has maintained its popularity over other arts. The people residing in the villages prefer to cook food in terracotta vessels over steel vessels. It is believed that terracotta vessels add to the deliciousness of the food.
Terracotta manufacturing process
Terracotta objects are made by Maru Potters of Molela village near Udaipur city. One of the most famous terracotta items is plaques. The plaques depict images of the ceremony or stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata and mainly focus on tribal customs. The plaques are known for their light weightiness and skillful molding.
Some temple in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh change the idols every year and thus approaches to Molela for a new terracotta idol.
The potters use local whole grained clay containing alumina, silica and some other alkaline materials like lime. This whole grained clay is mixed with sand and kneaded to form a dough. Kneading make the dough flexible. For manufacturing idols, a slab is made in the form of the dome-shaped upper part, and the edges are lifted above to form a rim. The idols are placed in the center of the slab, and they should be made hollow so that it is less in weight and thus enables easy shifting of idols. By performing this technique, it is ensured that the idol doesn’t crack or burst in the blast furnace. After the idols are prepared, they are decorated with small clay beads.
In the nut shell, the terracotta idols are manufactured by performing basic procedures like pinching, rolling, squeezing of clay and pressing.
With the completion of the idol, it is painted with natural or mineral colours. The finishing is provided by coating local lacquer. The kumhars (potters) of Molela village say that the idols manufactured from red clay are considered special in the market. The red clay terracotta artwork is special because it has better sturdiness than other clay terracotta art.
As per the Hindu calendar in Magh month (between January and February) tribal people arrive at Molela village and buy the idols of their deities like Ganesha, Durga, Kali, etc.
Not only the idols of deities, but terracotta utensils are also famous and used extensively. For manufacturing utensils, a clay lump is placed on the rotating potter wheel and turned till the wheel gets momentum. The wheel rotates and the potter works on shaping the clay lump. Then the shaped substance is kept in the sunlight for a few days to dry naturally and later on heated in a furnace to provide strength. Terracotta pots are used in cities and village to store water, it helps keep water cool unaffected by Rajasthan’s summer heat.
Besides Molela terracotta craft is performed in Pokhran, Nohar centre in Bikaner, Jalore and Ahore district. The pottery in Pokhran is characterized by Geometrical etchings in traditional Rajasthan style.
The terracotta artworks are praised worldwide, and are exported throughout the world.

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