Sunday, March 14, 2010


Terracotta is derived from Latin word "Terra Cocta" meaning cooked earth or baked earth.. It is made from clay and is plain unglazed ceramic. Terracotta usually refers to those items which are made with hand or rather not made on potter's wheel.

Terracotta colour is a brownish orange colour. But the exact shade may vary depending on the properties of the clay used locally.

Terracotta in India has been used since ancient times since Indus valley civilization. Its used for pottery, bricks, shingles, votive figures of animal, gods and goddesses. Figures of horses, camels, elephants, tigers, monkeys, bears, bullocks, serpents, birds etc are made in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarath, Jhabua and Bastar regions of Madhya Pradesh and Darbhanga of Bihar. In Darbhanga of Bihar the figures are painted in bright colours. Similarly in Tamil Nadu too horses and other figures are made of clay. These are then offered to the local deities.

In rural India, roof tops have always been covered with natural materials, one of them being the tiles or shingles made from clay or terracota. You can find these even today. Its easy to make, cheap and effective. But it requires replacement due to wear and tear with the passgae of time. Its also natural and easy to dispose off as it becomes dust and quite Eco friendly.

Terracota pots have also been in use in India. Either plain or decorated are used for cooking, cooling water and for decorative purpose. In the recent years, we Indians have again started using terracota products for decorating homes and gardens.

Here are some of the products- quite artistic and beautifully made:

See the bells. Two of them have been painted silver colour. these are hung in the gardens or in the front of the houses. The big one can also be used for covering an earthen ware lamp (Diya) to protect it from wind. The holes on it would allow the light.

Here you can see some more including the lanterns and bells which can be hung from trees in the garden.

This is a wind chime made of terracotta. I wanted to paint it. But did not have time yet. Its hung in my garden. I doubt whether even a hurricane would make it chime. LOL! :) :) . But it produces a beautiful sound, though not as much as a metal one.

You can see a terracotta parrot perched on one of the bells.

Here you can see some figurines of artisans at work. A lady and two men. These are used as decarators in the gardens, or in homes.

Here you can see two candle holders, one with the handle, and the other black one shaped like a tabla. There is a swan lamp, and a conch shell shaped plant holder.

The swan lamps, and a pot with a wine round it and boat shaped candle holders.

You can see some simple lamps. They are called diyas, which are lighted by using wick and oil in our prayer rooms, or for decoration or any religious/festive occasions.
These are a few of the beautiful items our craftsmen make. Especially the ones from Bengal are very skilled ones. They make some of the most beautiful ones. Hope you like them. Please leave your comments if any.
Keep an eye on my blog for more.....

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