Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Terracotta Craft

The art of modeling terracotta items was prevalent during the Indus Valley Civilization. Nearly every archaeological site, from Harappa onwards, has produced many a terracotta object. While some of these items are crude, others are examples of fine workmanship and beauty. Though West Bengal in India is famed for the terracotta items produced in the Bankura district, but it can be made even in the pace of home after taking a short training. Any terracotta craftsmen devote their skills solely to sculpting, considering themselves superior to vessel making potters. Although the figurative works blending technical skill and artistic expertise are not made on the potter’s wheel, this age-old craft avails of the process of firing. Before firing, the color of the clay is usually gray. Following the process of firing at high temperature, it turns Indian red. Usually, modeling tools made from bamboo are used to make these figurative works and account for the varied shapes, sizes and dimensions. The end product, bereft of any additional colors, exudes a feel of the soil and that is what makes it all the more alluring. The items are fragile and should be handled with care. From time to time, they can be washed with plain water.

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Originally published in Blurtit.com on 24th September, 2006 19:48
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