Shifting Sands in the Language of Clay

Craft, Handloom, Art, Research

Shifting Sands in the Language of Clay

Sethi, Ritu

KEYWORDS YOUR VIEWS
Across India the colours of the earth change with the topography from the dark geru-reds of the coastal regions, the ebony shades found in the interiors to the bleachedbuff hues of the desserts. The shades reflected in clay coatedvillage homes, the cooking and storage vessels, the objects of play and in votive and ritual offerings. Since antiquity the language of clay has been explored by cultures and civilizations. In India its use extended across architecture from the terracotta bricks and the sophisticated clay-pipe drainage systems to the great variety of pots, wheeled toy-carts and figurines.[i] Historians suggest the possibility that the terracotta arts formed the stylistic inspiration for early stone sculptures basing their hypothesis on theoutstanding terracotta piecesthat were prolifically crafted from c. 200 BCE to 300 CE[ii]the regional styles andrefinements reflected in the aesthetic quality of the techniques followed. Beyond the functional, sculptural, figurative and abstract forms the use of clay continued to evolve as can be seen in the remarkable terracotta temples ofBishnupur built in the 17th and early 18th century in Bengal.[iii](See box - Sized down - From architecture tointeriors) While traditional iconography continues to be shaped, molded and wheel-spun the markets are evolving beyond the local.The exposure of potters to communities outside their own to market their products...
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