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Terracotta has been in use since ancient times, viz. in Greek Pottery (from 7,000 BCE), and in Mesopotamian and Egyptian arts and sculptures. They were also seen in Minoan art from Crete and Italian Etruscan art.It is said that Terracotta was first used in prehistoric art. This is exemplified in the Venus of Dolby Vestonice (26,000-24,000 BCE), discovered under a layer of ash at a paleolithic encampment in Moravia.
About this Terracotta Home decor Item
This is a set of Hand painted Wall Hanging made of Terracotta. Collected from the Manufacturer directly.
What is Terracotta
Terracotta a hard, fired clay, brownish-red in color when unglazed, that is used for architectural ornaments and facings, structural units, pottery, and as a material for sculpture.
Process of Making
he raw materials are brought from the nearby place which is obtained locally. Initial stage is to refine the clay by removing the dust particles from the clay. The clay is mixed with water in a basket and filtered it using a very fine fishing net, where the impurities and pebbles in the clay will be removed. Later when the clay is dried, it is soaked in water. Finally the dough is pressed or kneaded continuously for a long time to remove the air and to enhance the elasticity. The prepared dough is then used for making products and also it is covered and stored to preserve the moisture.
The parts of the article are prepared, shaped separately and then combined later. Artisan first creates a basic shape of the product and then patterns are made on it using sharp edged metal piece. Artisan creates different parts of coconut tree like trunk, leaves, and shells separately and then it is fixed together. For making leaves, first the small piece of clay is rolled, bent and flattened slowly so that the clay should not develop any cracks. The pattern on the tree and leaves are then made and smoothening of the surface is done by smearing pinch of water.
To combine two surfaces of clay, indentations are made on each surface and water is applied on the place where each clay area joins together and then pressed. Like the same manner other types of wall hangings and decorative items are made. After completion the article is kept for drying under the sun. Later it is taken to furnace for baking process.
This baking process is done to enhance the strength and quality of the products. Here the small articles like decorative items are baked in the furnace. The art pieces are carefully placed in the furnace and it is covered with clay tile pieces to absorb the heat. Wooden pieces are used as fuel in baking process and gradually heat level is increased and temperature is maintained, so that the articles are baked properly.
Depending on the articles and the artisan’s choice of color and strength, the baking process takes place. Small articles are baked for approximately one and half hour and bigger ones takes more than two hours. Later the products are taken out from the furnace carefully and allowed to cool for some time. Under baked and over baked products are not worth in the market.
Finally the products are embellished with beautiful colors if required or else the varnish is applied to give a shiny look to the final products.
Symbolism of Terracotta
Terracotta, taken from Latin terra cotta or baked earth, is the art of creating glazed or unglazed porous earthenware, figurines, and other decorative materials from clay which is dried and fired in temperatures of around 1000°C giving it a distinctly orange, red, brown, yellow, or grey color. It is then covered in sand to allow it to cool down. This color depends not only on the type of clay found in the beds of the water bodies in the area where the artist is based but also on the firing process. For example, if the smoke from firing is allowed to get out through the vents in the kiln, a red or orange color is obtained. On the other hand, if the vents are sealed, it gives the items a black color. Decorative pieces are either left with their original color or painted in multiple hues to make them more attractive. Terracotta items, when not cracked, give a ring when struck lightly with fingers. Terracotta art is an integral part of Indian culture and heritage. What’s more, the art form has not been lost as many others have; rather it is flourishing and getting richer even now with artisans uninhibited in their imagination and creativity. Though the art of creating glazed pottery has been in existence for thousands of years in India, the unglazed pottery items are the ones India is world renowned for. Terracotta items are commonplace in Indian homes in one form or other, and artisans have kept the art alive from one generation to other. Today, India exports exquisite terracotta items like statues, vases, decorative hangings and bells, murals, Diwali oil lamps, etc. making the art form a rewarding one for the artisans. Though it would be impossible to find an Indian village without potters and other artisans, some states and cities are well known for their distinct Terracotta ware. What makes the end result unique from region to region is the difference in clay type and color as well as the sensibilities of the artist, not to mention the varied culture, religious practices, and traditions.
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