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As the British rule was loosening its grip on India, the revolutions and rebels were about to achieve the long awaited freedom for the country. As they launched the Independence struggle, the Rajput princes ended up defending the Raj. Due to the favors provided to them from the British, they were forced to back them. They sent their troops to suppress the rebellion brutally. Defending the British, they could not but give up the luxury and power enjoyed by them since generations. However, this time it was under suppression and forceful.


India, once called as the Golden Bird during her glory was turned into an economically and religiously a fragile one. The country was struggling to find its own identity during the prolonged British rule for 200 years. They bought the raw material, for cheap in India and shipped back to Britain only to sell the finished European goods at higher prices back to India. Due to the ruthless policy of theirs, the home industries underwent a heavy yet slow death.


The Indian handicrafts joined the same lot that is still an integral part of the Indian civillization since ancient times. The unglazed terracotta ware remains have been found in the ruins of the Mohenjo Daro in the area of Sindh, Pakistan. People, since these times, used terracotta articles in the form of various hand-made terracotta figurines of animals and human for recreation. The baked reddish brown earthenware was initially used as building material. It is tougher than the clay used in the clay pottery.


Terracotta handicraft is seen widely in use yet the location changes everytime. Within India, it is used in almost all forms according to the local traditions and cultures. For example, terracotta handicraft making is a meticulous art possessed by skilled artisans of Rajasthan. Jaipur being the centre of popular availability of terracotta handicraft items, various forms of decorative as well as domestic earthenware are seen stacked in the shops.


Being a part of the old tradition, terracotta handcrafted diyas have been used to sublimely lighten up houses during festivals. Immensely arrayed, lighted, colorfully decorated terracotta diyas create a scene of happiness and prosperity as believed in Hindu traditions. Terracotta pots, surahis, flowerpots, and lamps are being made and can be seen as antique forms of evergreen terracotta handmade materials still seen today. Not even in India, the art of terracotta handicrafts spanned its reach till the regions of Central Asia.


Chinese Emperor, Qin Shi Huang’s Terracotta Warriors and Horses were excavated in China. The to-be-believed first ruler of China in 221 AD, Qin’s lavish terracotta handmade army consisted of over 8,000 soldiers, 520 horses, and 150 cavalry horses. Most part of the army is still buried in the pits unexcavated. Such was the mastery that no two terracotta soldiers were made alike, which was a unique feature, finely permissible due to the texture of the terracotta clay.


The life-like and myriadly colored soldiers were made with different heights depending upon their ranks and duties, i.e. the generals were the tallest ones.


Rajasthani Terracotta handicrafts are made with an amalgamation with the old yet traditional standards of decoration and motifs. Terracotta decorated tiles, pen stands, terracotta tabletops, terracotta earthenware including platters, bowls, etc., are more versatile than other substances like stone or wood. The most advantageous factor with terracotta handicrafts is that they do not decompose or get affected by rain, humidity, sunlight or snow, etc.


Superbly painted ceiling terracotta wall hangings and terracotta idols of the dieties always find place at all religious homes. Exquisite terracotta candleholders, planters, terracotta bells always provide an ethnic and Indian folk impression to the mind. This seems evident by the opularity levels similar with the domestic as well international buyers. Moreover, the trend with the terracotta murals and pottery seems a never fading affair. Thanks to the applied twists and turns, fancy yet variant shapes and cut patterns on all sorts of terracotta handicraft objects.


Jaipur favorably stores all such terracotta handmade wonders. These can be easily found within the walled city markets and the private shops and showrooms of the local manufacturers and exporters. Government aided emporiums and outlets keep a neat array of such terracotta objects.

 

 
 
 

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