Home >> Craft >> Terracotta


 

The point of genesis of many of Chhattisgarh’s artistic expressions is the Earth. While its fertile soils yield forests of wood and from its depths are extracted rich ores of metal, the very soil itself is pliant enough to be molded into pleasing three dimensional forms, giving rise to terracotta pottery. The crafted objects are attributed with meaning deeper than expressed through their physical form, a traditions extended to all handicrafts created by the peoples of this land. Votive terracotta is representative of their ritualistic aspect of tribal’s life, symbolizing their fears and aspirations. Shaped and molded both by hand as well as on the potter’s wheel, the animal and bird figures represent the ethos of the ancient cultural stages of human life. Particularly I the regions of Bastar, Ambikapur and Raigarh a strong and living tradition of votive terracotta is evident. The use of these clay figures is widely prevalent to mark both auspicious as well as inauspicious occasions. Birth, marriages, deaths or evil happening create occasions for community participation.

The region of Bastar has made a unique contribution to the tribal terracotta’s of the state by virtue of its being surrounded by many rich and distinct regions like Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. The tribes population this region are the Muria, Maria, Bhatara, Dhurwa, Doria and Parja. The widely acclaimed potters of Bastar cater to the needs of all these tribes and craft various items to meet both their secular and sacred requirements. The potters adhere strictly to the structures, forms and motifs associated with each tribe. The main centres of tribal terracotta in the Bastar region are Nagarnar, Kumharpara, Kondagaon, Narayanpur and Kanker. Besides these, Dantewada, Tumnas, Bhairamgarh, Sukma, Kukanar, Kokawad, Karanpur, Chhoti Lohara etc are some of the villages in the Bastar region where terracotta as an art is practiced intensively and extensively.

The potters of Bastar use black and red clay to shape various items. The black clay in particular is used for fashioning pots and figures and has the malleability to assume any form. The potters still follow the most ancient process of making votive terracotta. Collecting the clay from lake shores and river banks; breaking it into small lumps; soaking and kneading it with sand and horse-dung; throwing the cylindrical form on the wheel and creating an imaginative and beautiful form, demands patience, dexterity, discipline and concentration.  Hollow votive terracotta’s are created with cylinders and pots of various shapes which are first thrown on the wheel to from the limbs, body, neck and head, and then joined together to assume the final form.  Joining of these thrown parts reveals the potters ingenuity and mastery of his craft. To join the legs to the body, the potter places all four legs on the ground in the position they will eventually occupy with a carefully measured space between the two pairs and the legs of each pair. He places the elongate jar-shaped body on the legs with the bigger opening towards the rear. Putting his right hand inside, the potter, by piercing a hole in the body  precisely over each leg, joins all the legs to the body, The neck and the head are also joined in a similar fashion. To give a forward thrust or force to the from, the fore limbs of the tiger and the elephant are kept longer than the hind limbs. Similarly the main body is also more bulky in the anterior portion. Once the main from is completed, the work of embellishments begins. The prominent ears of the elephant are made by cutting a shallow bowl into two and attaching it to the head. The elephant is highly ornate with coil decorations covering the whole of its face and back. It is further embellished with rows of small bells, also thrown on the Wheel. Chowki and Kavardha are renowned for their highly ornamented black polished big size elephants and horses. Theses decorative elephants offered to the thakur, deity by way of thanks giving after which-fulfillment are sure to please him and win his favour !

The custom of making life-size, some items even gigantic, figures of characters related to the life story of Krishna is widely prevalent in the Chhattisgarh region. These figures are crafted from clay, Grass and bamboo sticks and are painted with water-colours. The huge idols from an essential part of the folk-0drama, rahas or raasleela, the dance of Krishna and gopis, cow-herd maidens, performed by the Satnami community of the Bilaspur region. During the enachment of rahas, up to 105 figures are made the figure of Bhimsen, the Pandava hero from the Mahabharata, is the tallest, and stands about 15 mts. High.

In the month of Sawan (July-August), on Hariyali Amavas or Poli Amavas, the tribals of the Chhatisgarh region celebrate Pola Parva, a festival that symbolizes the agricultural traditions of the region. While oxen are worshipped, it is also customary to offer pola-baila, a bullock and bendri, the she-monkey with child, at the village shrine, Once offered, these votive figures affixed with wheels are given away to children as play things. According to the customs prevalent in this region, it is compulsory for children to play with these idols. Later when these idols break or shatter, they are put away on roof-tops.

 

These area of Surguja and Raigarh are prominent for the concentration or the tribal population, which the main Oraon, Pando, Kanwar, Birhor and Rajwar being principal amongst them. Besides the potter, the people of the Oraon and Rajwar tribes make their own roof tiles with bird and animal forms affixed to it. The Rajwars of the area are renowned for their beautiful Jaali, lattic, work. The jaali  is decorated with unbaked clay figurines. The houses of this region are fine examples of aesthetic splendour. The Rajwar women are adept in ornamental relief-work on their hut walls. The process of lattice-making involves imagination and planning. A bamboo frame is made by fixing fine bamboo sticks together. Around this frame paddy hay is wrapped. A mixture of brown and black clay, sand and husk is prepared by sprinkling water on it. It is allowed to soak overnight and the next day various animal and human figures are moulded from this mixture and affixed to the frames. These figures are dried and colored with white chalk, ocher, blue and green and the motifs are flowers and leaves. Animal and bird figures and intricate geometrical designs form an incoherent part of their artistic repertoire.

The terracotta art of the tribal regions of Chhattisgarh might appear to be quite crude and simple, but the forms created and passed on from generation to generation by the potter are the result of the merging of many needs- socio- religious, functional, aesthetic, symbolic and environmental. Each shape is functional and carefully conceived to embody utility, comfort, self expression and spiritual fulfillment.  

 


 

 

Home
---------------------------------------
About Us
---------------------------------------
Contact Us
---------------------------------------
Scheme Of The Board
---------------------------------------
Our Retail Outlets
---------------------------------------
Our Production Center
---------------------------------------
Crafts Of Chhattisgarh
---------------------------------------
Awarded Artisans
---------------------------------------
Handicraft Maps
---------------------------------------
Product Gallery
---------------------------------------
Photo Gallery
---------------------------------------
Message
---------------------------------------
Feedback
---------------------------------------
RTI
---------------------------------------
Tenders
---------------------------------------
Site Map
---------------------------------------
Important Link
---------------------------------------
Who is Who

---------------------------------------
Admin Login