If you go to Jaipur, and ask about “Blue Pottery”, most people would get it. But outside Jaipur mostly nobody will. The reason: this unique art form has survived like a secret within the bulwarks of Jaipur for not decades, but probably a few centuries.
Instead of calling it “Blue Pottery”, we’d rather call it “Blue Art” because so much can be created with this art apart from beautiful pots and urns. If you’ve explored Jaipur, you might’ve come across ceramic-ware with blue (or yellow) glaze. These eye-catching objects are crafted using the technique we are talking about.
No clay is used in this technique. The dough is prepared using a mixture of quartz stone powder with a few other ingredients. Since it is fired at low temperature, the objects are fragile. Most of the objects are decorated with bird or animal motifs. The decoration is blue-coloured, hence the name of the art has blue in it. But lately even yellow colour has come into use.
There are various heritage structures whose walls feature tiles with blue-coloured decorations. This is how the art took birth, it was used to decorate the important buildings. The origination happened in Persia. Later, Mongol artisans created an amalgam of Chinese glazing process and Persian decorative arts. This technique reached India as a result of Turkic conquests in the 14th century. As expected its journey began in the plains of Delhi before it entered the ramparts of Jaipur and got confined there.
The royals, especially the art aficionados, did admire and own the objects created using the “Blue Pottery Art”. But probably as monarchy started fading in India, so did this art. However, interestingly, some families in Jaipur kept it alive.
It is said that it was Sawai Ram Singh II who had sent the artisans to Delhi to get trained in this art and bring it to Jaipur. And then in the modern times it was Gayatri Devi of the royal family, who took initiatives to preserve the art. However, the art and artisans are constantly threatened by the factory-made cheap ceramic goods. But the ray of hope comes in the form of appreciation from the art connoisseurs who travel to Jaipur from across the country and the world. In the quest of carrying back home some exotic souvenirs, they buy these products and in turn help keep the art alive.
There are quite a few studios and stores where you can browse and buy a wide range of home decor objects crafted using the blue pottery art. A few types of jewellery is also created using the similar techniques. Lately some of the entities, from Jaipur, have started offering the products on the internet.