Jaipur’s Blue Pottery, a dying art form revisited
Jaipur is easily one of the most culturally rich cities in India. It is a royal city with Rajas and Ranis atop elephants and camels, forts and palaces that have seen invasions, rulers from all around the world and so much more.
The culture of the city is, in a word, vibrant. The exquisite history has brought around an era of skilled craftsmen and artisans coming together to hone their skills and showcase their talent in a space where it was valued by kings, queens and locals alike.
One of such crafts and craftsmen were the potters skilled in the art of Blue pottery- a form of pottery that is extremely lavish, extravagant and fit for kings. They moved to Jaipur to present their handicraft skills to the Maharajas and their Queens which left the royalties mesmerized. The eye catching blend of colours, intricate details and hand crafted precision left them wanting more and eventually, it turned into a more luxurious kind of pottery that was accessible only to the rulers of the cities.
Now, after so many years and technological advancements, the skilled blue potters and their art is slowly becoming a dying breed. The traditional craft of Turko-Persian origin is no longer relevant. People are opting for more cheaper forms of pottery, which they believe have the same sense of historical importance and carry the same intricate details that the royalties were drawn to.
Jaipur’s connection with the art form has occasionally attracted people from all over the world. They have come to witness and take home some of the beautiful art which blends in a variety of colour, small details and has a sense of history about it. The potters have taken themes from Chinese and European art forms and patterns that have occasionally drawn a huge audience to it, but locals and people from around the country are no longer interested in the craft.
The craftsmen today are forgotten and struggle to carry on their age old tradition of presenting quality pottery and clay work. It used to be a way of livelihood for many people living in the rural areas of the Rajasthan and with the steep decline in sales of the crafts, they are left wanting, lost and without an income. The artisans mentioned that they have repeatedly told the government of the tourists they attract and have urged them to look into research of the art form, to bring it back into relevance.
Blue pottery and the artisans are an integral part of not only Jaipur but the whole of Rajasthan. It tells of the age old tradition of borrowing techniques and skills from other countries, whatever may be the differences among the nations.