The terracotta objects are not unusual across India. Artisans and craftsmen are engaged in creating finest earthenware objects for more than two millennia in India. Literally, terracotta means baked earth. Terracotta has two distinct meanings: One, terracotta is a glazed or unglazed fired clay used especially for statutes, relief ornamentation in buildings, for architectural purposes such as roofing, vases, utilitarian objects such as pans and bowls and some such. Another meaning of terracotta is, a type of colour: brownish orange or reddish brown.
Terracotta is a composition of clay and sand, and baked with earthen colour, a brownish red or brownish orange. It is an oldest craft of that human beings ever introduced on this earth. It has utilitarian and aesthetic value. Terracotta objects are usually found in many a household across India.
A village for terracotta: Asharikandi is a habitation where young and old, male and female create a range of terracotta pottery items. Asharikandi is located in Dhubri district of Assam in northeast India. North East Craft and Rural Development Organisation (NECARDO), an NGO works for the preservation and promotion of the traditional craft and welfare of craftsman and craftswoman.
Terracotta for earthenware objects is either clay-based unglazed, or glazed form of ceramic. According to Andhra Pradesh Handicrafts Development Corporation, a Government of Andhra Pradesh Undertaking, terracotta has been in existence for a very long time, and only clay product which was used until 14th century. It informs, “Archaeologists have found many terracotta sculptures, which are more than 5,000 years old. The major step in making Pottery involves collecting appropriate refined clay, to get the desired shape. After drying, the clay is placed in a kiln or on the top of combustible material located in a pit, and it is then fired. The temperature of the fire should be around 1,000 °C and during this process, the iron reacts with oxygen which results in a fired body or reddish color. The pottery created with terracotta is used as garden pots or for decorative purposes in many environments, as well as oil lamps, or ovens.”
Pottery is a specialized art and fascinated art lovers. Archaeologists have found many terracotta sculptures, more than 5,000 years old. They were clay sculptures: sun dried and later placed in open hearths before finally being placed in kilns.
Terracotta crafts centres usually display and sell a wide range of objects: lamps, pots, musical instruments, flower vases, horses, idols, plates, elephants, ornamental artefacts among others.