Clay, Terracotta, Pottery of Jammu & Kashmir

Clay, Terracotta, Pottery of Jammu & Kashmir


Ladakh has two distinctive kinds of pottery --- one with large images and icons painted in bright colours which are made for Buddhist monasteries, and the other comprising of pottery artefacts like oil lamps, tea kettles, braziers, kitchen stoves, and barley wine pots. The potters of Ladakh makes everyday products like mud bowls, jugs, tea kettles, and braziers. The objects are moulded by hand with simple tools made of wood, leather, and stone. Zama, a wide vessel that is narrow at the neck and wide at the mouth is used to store the local barley beer. One of the most exclusive items is a large tea kettle complete with spout, lid, handle and a brazier. A large number of craftspersons are engaged in the preparation of statues --- like the Maitray Buddha and the Padma Sambhave --- for monasteries like the ones at Thiksay and Hemis monastery. Craftspersons also make masks of clay using cloth, flour, waste paper, and glue. These ingredients are mixed together in proportion and then hammered with a wooden beater on a smooth stone. The process continues till a thick dough is prepared. This dough gets shaped into different objects conceived of by the craftspersons. Lacquering is done twice to give a shine to the products. Glazed pottery known as Dal Gate pottery is found in Kashmir. Originally glazed tiles in deep green, blue, brown, and ochre were made, after which parts of tobacco pipes were produced. Now table ware and vases are made in red, green, and blue glazes. The most famous centre is the town of Chirar-e-Sharif near the Nund Rishi shrine.

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