Blue pottery has been acknowledged as the conventional craft of Jaipur and encompasses a wide range of modern and artistic objects that serve as mementos for tourists. Here are some fascinating facts about the oh-so-elegant and fragile craft form-
1. No clay is used in this style of pottery!
The dough is prepared by mixing quartz stone powder, powdered glass, Multani Mitti (Fuller’s Earth), borax, gum and water. It’s glazed and low-fired and hence is very fragile and brittle.
2. It is not an Indian form of pottery art; it’s of Turko-Persian origin!
The use of blue glaze on pottery is an imported technique, first developed by Mongol artisans who combined Chinese glazing technology with Persian decorative arts. This technique traveled east to India with early Turkic conquests in the 14th century. The technique traveled to the plains of Delhi and in the 17th century went to Jaipur. Other accounts of the craft state that blue pottery came to Jaipur only in the early 19th century under the ruler Sawai Ram Singh II.
3. It was not always used as mementos for tourists!
During its infancy, it was used to make tiles to decorate mosques, tombs and palaces in Central Asia. Gradually the blue glaze technique grew beyond an architectural accessory to Indian potters. The range of items now is primarily decorative, such as ashtrays, vases, coasters, small bowls and boxes for trinkets.
4. The name ‘blue pottery’ comes from the eye-catching blue dye used to color the pottery
Blue, derived from cobalt oxide, green derived from copper oxide and white, other non-conventional colors, such as yellow and brown adorn this pottery kind.
5. Why is Jaipur the hub of blue pottery?
The Jaipur belt of Rajasthan is rich in quartz, a semi-precious stone which is one of the main items required in this form of craft.
6. It’s almost impossible to create identical replicas of any product
As each piece is hand-painted, it’s very difficult to create the same pattern over and over again. It usually takes 15-20 days to complete a product since it’s a very time consuming, tedious and expensive process.
Cover photo courtesy: Awoken magazine