Blue pottery is beautifully decorated with the brush when the pot is rotated. The blue colour or turquoise color is obtained by mixing crude copper oxide with salt or sugar in a kiln and then filtering it for use. The dark ultramarine colour is obtained from cobalt oxide.
Blue Pottery is widely recognized as a traditional craft of Jaipur, though it is Turko-Persian in origin. The name ‘blue pottery’ comes from the eye-catching blue dye used to color the pottery. Jaipur blue pottery, made out of a similar frit material to Egyptian faience, is glazed and low-fired.
Blue Pottery is widely recognized as a traditional craft of Jaipur of Central Asian origin. The name ‘blue pottery’ comes from the eye-catching cobalt blue dye used to color the pottery.
Jaipur, Rajasthan is one of the most culturally rich cities in India with an exquisite history that brought around an era of skilled craftsmen and artisans. One of such crafts and craftsmen were the potters skilled in the art of Blue pottery, a form of pottery that is extremely lavish, and extravagant.
The Art of blue pottery came to Jaipur from Persia and Afghanistan via Mughal Courts. The dough to form the pottery is made by mixing 6 ingredients quartz stone powder, powdered glass, Katira Gond powder, Multani Mitti, and Saaji, and water. The blue color or greenish-blue color is obtained by the combination of crude copper oxide with salt or sugar in a furnace and then filtering it for use and the dark ultramarine color is obtained from cobalt oxide.
Creating the right blend by mixing quartz stone powder, powdered glass, Multani Mitti (Fuller’s Earth), borax, gum, and water is at the core of Jaipur Blue Pottery. The pottery is completely different from the regular ceramics which use the clay from the river bed, which results in its uniqueness and exclusivity.
Blue Pottery of Jaipur is very famous all over the country and even in the world. The artwork is called Blue Pottery because the clay colors are in blue which is done with shades of blue. These are paired with gold and silver designs and the style of art is actually derived from the Turko-Persian style. The blue color used to paint the sculptures is actually a color that is created by Egyptian technology such as Multani clay, Katira Gond, common gum, sodium bicarbonate, and water.
The blue pottery of Jaipur is easily recognizable in any local market and is beautifully designed which is done in blue and golden colors. These vessels mostly have designs of birds and animals such as horses and camels. You can buy ashtrays, jars, cups, tea sets, small bowls, crockery, and many other utensils.
The craft became popular and became the special art of Jaipur from the early 19th-century era under the reign of Sawai Ram Singh. Various antique and long ago ceramic blue pottery works can be seen in the museum of Rambagh Palace.
It was then revived by the conscious efforts of some artists and the royalty of Jaipur that today Jaipur Blue Pottery is the famous world over for its delicate motifs, subtle color blends, and innovative product designs. Originally available only in the traditional cobalt blue now it has added turquoise blue, yellow and soft green to its palette. Blue pottery has now become the common livelihood of the local artisans of Jaipur.
Blue Pottery: Inspiring Intricacy
Blue pottery is a traditional craft hailing from the city of Jaipur. Blue pottery is made from ground feldspar mixed with gum or starch. It is locally known as kamchini and can be wielded by hand. Although handmade, blue pottery does not easily get cracked like other fragile pottery. Complementing all kinds of home décor, this unique craft flaunts an expensive, shiny look with an everlasting lustre.
Blue Pottery: Tracing the Art
This authentic art can be traced back to Turko-Persian origin when the Turks came to conquer India in the 14th century. Initially, blue pottery was used in making tiles for masjids, palaces and tombs across Asia. With the coming of the Mughals, this art took off in India. Blue pottery came to India in the 19th century, when the king – Sawai Ram Singh 2 was impressed by the craft and demanded his craftsmen and artisans to learn the technique.
About the Karigars:
The traditional blue pottery of Jaipur has been witnessing a stiff competition from inexpensive ceramic products. Earlier, this craft was popular and many artisans living in the Jaipur villages used to earn their bread through this trade. However, today only few families continue this handcraft. Amazon through its Amazon Karigar store showcases this beautiful art and the products to lighten up the living rooms of the houses across India.
Steps to Make Blue Pottery
Preparing the Dough and Making the Mould
The first step involves making the dough. The dough in made with raw materials like quartz powder, cullet, saji, katira gond, and multani mitti. These ingredients are mixed in a balanced ratio to form a non-sticky dough and then kept aside for a few hours. Moulds are then made from Plaster of Paris and given shape according to the needs. These moulds are then left to dry.
Casting the Product
Next, the dough is uniformly flattened with the help of a flattening tool. The flattened dough is neatly placed on the mould and tucked in carefully to get the right shape. Thereafter, the mould with the dough stuffed in it is filled with burnt wood dust. It is then softly pressed to give it the shape of the mould and left to dry
The rough edges of the product are brushed with stone to rid it of the sharp edges. The artefact is further rubbed with sandpaper to make the surface smoother. Next, it is coated with a mixture of dough and water to fill in its pores. Once dried, it is rubbed with sandpaper yet again. This step is repeated for another round of coating. Following this, the artefact is dipped in a blend of quartz powder, powdered glass, flour and water and left to dry.
The next step is to paint the product manually. First, the outlines are drawn with a customized artist brush. It is placed on the potter’s wheel to neatly draw the outlines with merely the tip of a brush. The intricacy of the design depends on the expertise of the artist. Once the outlining is finalized, the artist fills in the gaps with vibrant colors to complete the design.
The sheen of the artefact is due to a special glaze prepared using myriad raw materials such as powdered glass, borax, zinc oxide, boric acid, and potassium nitrate. These raw ingredients are heated at a soaring temperature. The mixture is then put to cold water which makes it split to splinters. The splinters are collected and finely grounded. The grounded frit is then turned into a mixture by adding water to form a glaze.
The glazed artefact is placed inside a furnace for roasting in a fire of wood and charcoal. The artefact is dried in this fire for 4-5 hours and then left for cooling. Cooling can take up to 3 days of time. Once cooled, the artefact is prepared for being sold in the market.
India has witnessed unnumbered artisans feeding their families by working in the handicraft industry. It takes a lot of dedication and expertise to create such artistic, premium pottery. Every pottery, lamp, and decorative item finished by them reflects splendour and grandeur. In modern times, blue pottery has successfully diversified into kitchenware, toiletry, vases, accessory holders and home décor products.
Blue pottery is a native craft of Persia that was popularised in India by the Mughals. The motifs on the craft are reflective of the Turko-Persian culture with an indigenous touch. One can see a lot of geometric patterns, concentric floral designs with an interplay of intricate detailing in the Blue Pottery products.
Handling Instructions: This item is fragile. Clean the surface regularly with soft dry cloth. In case dust accumulates over the surface, gently rub some ordinary oil with a soft cloth to restore the shine on the surface.