The city of Sawai Madhpur in the Indian state of Rajasthan has a glorious history of patronage of myriad art and craft forms. The landscape of this sleepy town mirrors the sheer variety and diversity of the various traditional arts practiced here. Many a story and folktale lay hidden in the folds of the soil of its somewhat plain and somewhat hilly terrain.
The artisans and craftspersons of Sawai Madhipur have undergone many struggles and hardships to keep their traditional craft alive. It’s been a roller coaster ride but the city has never disappointed them.
The city is home to a unique tradition of black pottery which is remarkably distinct from other black pottery traditions prevalent in India, such as the one practiced in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. Sawai Madhopur Black Pottery is unique in its texture, design element and the intricate style of carving on the surface of the pottery that is the signature style of this beautiful craft tradition of India.
For making black pottery, the potters of Sawai Madhopur collect clay from the banks of the nearby river Banas. The clay first undergoes a complex process of cleaning and filtering to remove any unwanted pebbles and stones. Once the mud is fine enough for usage, it is stored. The potters take limited quantities of clay for making the pottery from that stock, as and when required.
The art of making Sawai Madhopur Black Pottery is sheer poetry as the potter places the mud on the wheel and then with all the grace and dexterity of a seasoned craftsman, turns the wheel beautifully. The form of black pottery is cut out of the wheel from the bottom and an ordinary thread is used for this purpose.
The firing is done in a locally made kiln where all the openings of the kiln are tightly sealed, once the firing process is almost over. This special technique enables the creation of a smoky atmosphere inside the furnace, giving the Sawai Madhopur black pottery is characteristic greyish black colour.
One of the most distinguishing features of this pottery tradition is the inherent creativity in its application wherein the potters create a variety of items of utility and decorative value in shapes of different animals and deities. This playfulness of form is perhaps rare to find in any other kind of pottery.
We at Prosperity bring to you a lovingly handpicked collection of the best of Sawai Madhopur black pottery. Each product has a story to tell. You can read the signs of that story in its shape, texture and the beautiful carvings on its surface. This is also the story of the artisans of this beautiful craft tradition of India who are leaving on stone unturned in saving and nurturing their art form.