Gorakhpur Terracotta

Terracotta is a reflection of earth

Lalit Bhatt
Lalit Bhatt

Gorakhpur terracotta is a type of pottery that has a long history and is known for its intricate designs and local craftsmanship. Gorakhpur is a city located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, in northern India, and has been a hub for terracotta production for many centuries. Gorakhpur terracotta has received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag. 

Gorakhpur Terracootta
Gorakhpur Terracootta
The art of Terracotta involves molding clay into various shapes and sizes and then firing it in a kiln at high temperatures to create a durable and long-lasting product. Gorakhpur terracotta is made from local clay found in the area and is known for its distinctive reddish-brown color.  The clay used in the artwork is a special clay known as Kabis and is found in ponds. The clay is available only in the months of May and June, as for the rest of the year, the ponds are filled with water. The art is practiced by families in the villages like Aurangabad, Gularia, Bharwalia, Budhadih and around it.

The designs on Gorakhpur terracotta are inspired by local folklore, mythology, and nature. Some of the common motifs include animals, birds, flowers, and religious figures. The craftsmen use various techniques, such as carving, incising, and painting, to create intricate patterns and designs on the pottery. The clay structure is dipped in mixture of soda and mango tree barks before baking in high temperature. The designs are usually quite detailed, with many fine lines and curves , which make the pottery unique and beautiful. The red color of terracotta does not fade for many years. The artworks are especially known for their ornamentation. 

Gorakhpur terracotta is used for both decorative and utilitarian purposes. It is often used to make lamps, vases, plates, and figurines. The pottery is also exported to other parts of India and abroad, where it is highly valued for its beauty and craftsmanship.

The art of terracotta has been practiced in India for thousands of years and has a rich cultural history. It is believed that the Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished around 2500 BCE, was one of the earliest civilizations to use terracotta for making pottery. Since then, terracotta has been used in various forms across the country, with each region having its own unique style and techniques.

In Gorakhpur, the tradition of terracotta has been passed down through generations, with each new generation adding their own innovations and improvements to the craft. Today, the city has a thriving terracotta industry, with many skilled craftsmen working tirelessly to produce beautiful and intricate pottery.

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