Blue Pottery

Although this age old craft had its roots in Turkey, it has made its in mark in India, especially in Rajasthan. Blue Pottery has been named so due to the predominant use of blue glaze painting technique. Designs mainly consist of animal and bird motifs, arabesque patterns, in mesmerising shades of blue.

The raw material used for this antique craftwork mainly comprises a mixture of quartz stone powder, glass powder, Fuller's Earth, borax, gum and water.  The unique aspect of this pottery is that no clay is used, hence it is extremely delicate. Moreover, the glazed paint lends a charming look to the items. The opacity of the paste ranges from translucent to completely opaque. The traditional colour palette includes blue, turquoise, sea-green and white, though modern palettes include yellow and brown.

Blue pottery encompasses a wide range of modern and artistic objects that serve as mementos for tourists, such as intricately designed pitchers, blue lamp shades, tea sets, trinkets, trays, flower vases, tiles, etc.


The origin of blue gaze paint dates back to the Mongolian era, when Chinese art fused with that of Persian gave rise to a new technique. The Mughals acquired it, and brought it along to Kashmir where Indian craftsmen were trained in this art. Blue gaze painting was widely used in medieval architecture. It spread within India, from Kashmir to the plains of Delhi, and then to Rajasthan.  It has said to have gained maximum popularity during the reign of Sawai Ram Singh II, circa 19th century. Places of historical significance such as the Rambagh Palace have retained specimens of blue pottery. Though blue pottery faded by 1950s, it was brought back to the limelight by various art patrons, especially due to the efforts of muralist Kripal Singh Shekhawat, in Jaipur. Currently, a thriving blue pottery industry exists in Jaipur that supports indigenous artisans.


The dough is made from quartz stone powder, powdered or ground glass, Multaani Mitti or Fuller's Earth, borax, gum, and water. This mixture must rest for half a day.

The first step involves moulding the dough. Required quantity of the dough is rolled and divided equally into the moulds. The dough is pressed and moulds are turned over such that the dough portions acquire the shapes of their moulds, respectively. The dough is left to dry for a day or two.

Once the forms have been shaped, their surface is made even with the help of a base stone, water and sandpaper. Once they are dried, they are dipped into a mixture of quartz powder, glass powder and water, for finishing.

The designs on the pottery are mainly that of animal and bird motifs, floral, geometrical and arabesque patterns.  Designing is achieved by means of a solution of cobalt oxide and gum. The form is supported on a potter's wheel to make it easier for the artisan to paint designs. Brush strokes and quick and smooth. Blue colour results from copper oxide.  Glaze is added once the paint has dried. Paint glaze is a mixture of powdered glass, borax, zinc oxide, potassium nitrate and boric acid in water and maida.

Finally, the painted forms are fired at a low temperature in brick kilns, for 4 hours. The heated forms of pottery are then kept for cooling for few days.

Blue Pottery Items

Blue Pottery was widely used in historical architecture, in the form of blue glazed tiles in mosques and tombs. In modern days, however, the blue pottery market sells home accessories and souvenirs such as tea sets, plates, trays, flower vases, pitchers, urns, coasters, lamp shades, beautifully designed tiles, trinkets, etc.

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