Blue pottery of Jaipur is widely famous as a traditional craft of Jaipur. The craft’s name comes from the beautiful blue dye that is used on the pottery. The astonishing blue colour is made from cobalt oxide which produces the perfect blue shade which is responsible for the visual appeal of these items. The products made through blue pottery are quite lightweight and have a beautiful shine. Other than blue, colours like green, yellow are used to enhance the traditional colour palette of white and blue.
The Blue Pottery is thought to be of Turko-Persian origin. This can be observed by the decorative motifs and floral designs which are used to cover the pottery items.
What kind of products/items are made through the traditional Blue Pottery?
Items of kitchenware usually for domestic purposes such as plates, cups, mugs, teapots, coasters, napkin holders, etc. are made mostly. Home décor items are also created like doorknobs, vases, paperweights, candle stands, flower pots, trays, bathroom fittings, etc. Nowadays, artisans have started making jewellery and buttons as well.
Process of making Blue Pottery items
Blue pottery in Jaipur is made out of a frit material which very much similar to the Egyptian faience. It is made using a ‘dough’ that is prepared by mixing quartz stone powder, powdered glass, Multani Mitti (Fuller’s Earth), borax, soda bicarbonate, gum, and water. No clay is used in the dough. When the dough with all its constituents in it is kneaded, it is then soaked in water and then semi-dried. Due to this the gum in the dough swells up and binds well with the dough. The dough is then glazed and low-fired. Glazing is done to bring out the shine in the dough after firing is done.
The colours, on the other hand, are prepared by dissolving the gum in water and then mixing colour stains in it. This solution of gum, water, and colour is required to be of the right consistency that is not too thin or too sticky. The items are finally painted using brushes. The finer brushes are made of hair from the tail of a squirrel.
The technique of utilizing blue glaze on pottery is a technique, which was first developed by Mongol artisans who combined Chinese glazing technology with Persian decorative arts. Later, in the 14th century, this technique travelled east to India. Initially, it was used to make tiles to decorate mosques, tombs, and palaces in Central Asia. Then when it finally arrives in India, these were used by the Mughals. Gradually the blue glaze technique grew beyond an architectural accessory to Indian potters. From there, the technique travelled to the plains of Delhi and in the 17th, century went to Jaipur.
What makes the Blue Pottery unique?
The Blue pottery is completely hand-painted. The composition of the quarts powder used in making the ceramic is well suited to the hot and dry climate of the area.
After the firing step is completed, very little shrinkage is observed. Unlike clay pottery which requires two firings, Blue Pottery requires only one firing for baking and glazing.
It is found to be very suitable and hygienic for daily use as it does not crack much and is impervious.
Conclusively, the Blue pottery of Jaipur today is an industry that provides employment and supports livelihood to many people. So many articles such as jars, flower pots, vases are created using the traditional designs and the eye-catching blue colour.