Pottery, the first thing that comes to our mind would be a flower
vase, right? Yes, but there’s much more to that, vessels, bowls, etc.
Pottery is one of the oldest crafts, which is practiced from the early
years. Pottery is not only an art but also a mixture of love,
passion, and care of the artisans. One of those is the black
Let’s find out the different types of black pottery in India
and how they differ from each other.
Both North East and West India have their own unique cultured and traditional black pottery.
Decorative potteries are always preferred by every one of us.
Simple and unique one! Yes, Black pottery from Uttar Pradesh (Northwest) and Manipur (Northeast) are the most famous among them. They both have their own geographical indications.
Let’s see a brief detail about them and about the process too:
Nizamabad Clay Black Pottery
Nizamabad (Uttar Pradesh) black clay pottery is known for its
uniqueness all over India. The black lustrous body with
engraved silver patterns makes it unique from other potteries. It
owns the tag for geographical indication from December 2015.
You know what is it made up of?
The locally available fine-textured clay. Geometrical and floral motifs are commonly
engraved on them which makes them more attractive.
More than 200 families in Nizamabad involve in the making of
black pottery. They deal more with exporting to countries like
Russia, Australia, etc.
No doubt, the shiny body, and engraved silver patterns make
them unique. Silver patterns inspired by the Bidriware (the
pots decorated with silver wires) of Hyderabad.
The people are awe struck every time thinking how the potters
get a shiny surface over the black pots. The reason behind shiny
surface is the smoke fired with rice husk in enclosed kilns.
The locally available clay is molded into required shapes and
baked in kilns. Then, these wares are washed with vegetable
matters and rubbed with mustard oil. The engraving process of the
motifs is done using sharp twigs. The next step is that which
makes the pottery unique, i.e., the ware is baked in the enclosed
kilns in the smoked fire with rice husk. Then, these are rubbed again
with mustard oil and then baked. Silver powder of zinc and
mercury are added on to the engraved motifs and washed with
water and finally polished with lacquer if required.
Manipur Black Pottery
Longpi is a village in Manipur, and thus gives the name Longpi
pottery or stone pottery. The people behind this are the
Tangkhul Naga tribe. You might be wondering how this pottery
differs from other? Longpi pottery is not produced using potter’s
Thus, pottery is mainly used for performing rituals on special
occasions like marriage of the tribe. Only the royalty and the rich people of Manipur could afford these potteries. Other than
the tribal people, these are used to cook food on special
occasions by other Manipur people.
It has its own unique feature and style in it. One important
the factor is that these potteries are made without potter’s wheel.
A mainly required and important tool is Potter’s hand. Great skill
is required to produce these! Both the internal pressure and
external movement should coordinate well.
The mixture of clay and powdered stone (black serpentine
stone and weathered rock) are mixed in an accurate ratio of 3:1.
Then this mixture is rolled up into the desired shape. As I early
said, these are not molded using the wheel, but with hands. The
potter then moves his hands over the clay to form a particular
shape. Now comes the last step, the molded pottery will bake in
kiln for around 5 to 9 hours.
A locally available leaf and beeswax is used to polish the pot to
give it a smooth and shiny appearance.
The above mentioned are the two black potteries of India.
Potteries are always good to use as home decor and to give away
This is just a brief explanation about the process and the
unique features of both the pottery.