Lucknow city, known for its rich heritage, mannerisms and the Nawabi culture has another dimension added to it in the type of Chinhat pottery. This is named after the location where it primarily originated and had put into the already abundant pool of ingenious and indigenous craft of the city.
Chinhat Pottery was primarily produced in the Chinhat region which is at the eastern outskirts of the Lucknow city, on the Faizabad Road. Chinhat had emerged as a popular hub for pottery in the Uttar Pradesh back in the 1970’s and the terracotta industry was already thriving there for a long time.
Chinhat attracted visitors not only from India but from all over the world. Chinhat pottery is a creative and beautiful art form of handcrafted pottery which generated bread and butter for the local craftsmen. For the potters there, pottery making was not just an occupation to generate a livelihood, it was the work of theirs which they worshipped.
Famous Chinhat Pottery
The main speciality of Chinhat pottery is that it is totally handmade with no machinery involved unlike other crafts like making ceramics. Chinhat pottery was refined, well designed and decorated in a colourful form and consisted of Kitchenware, decorative bowls, plates, cup-saucers, containers, flower vases and vessels etc.
The beauty of the Chinhat pottery faded away because of the apathy from both the Central and the state government ashint well as the competition from pottery centre in district Khurja, which led to the shut down of this industry in the year 1992.
Types of Pottery
All the earliest forms of pottery were made from clays that were fired at low temperatures, initially in pit-fires or in open bonfires. They were hand formed and undecorated. Earthenware can be fired as low as 600°C, and is normally fired below 1200°C.
Because unglazed biscuit earthenware is porous, it has limited utility for the storage of liquids, and even eating off. However, earthenware has a continuous history from the Neolithic period to today. Reddish coloured varieties are called terracotta, especially when unglazed or used for sculpture.
Stoneware is pottery that has been fired in a kiln at a relatively high temperature, from about 1,100°C to 1,200°C, and is stronger and non-porous to liquids. The Chinese, who developed stoneware very early on, classify this together with porcelain as high-fired wares.
In contrast, stoneware could only be produced in Europe from the late Middle Ages, as European kilns were less efficient, and the right sorts of clay less common. It remained a speciality of Germany until the Renaissance. Stoneware is very tough and practical, and much of it has always been utilitarian, for the kitchen or storage rather than the table.
Porcelain is made by heating materials, generally including kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 °C (2,200 and 2,600 °F). This is higher than used for the other types, and achieving these temperatures was a long struggle, as well as realizing what materials were needed.
The toughness, strength and translucence of porcelain, relative to other types of pottery, arises mainly from verification and the formation of the mineral mu within the body mullite at these high temperatures.
Although porcelain was first made in China, the Chinese traditionally do not recognize it as a distinct category, grouping it with stoneware as “high-fired” ware, opposed to “low-fired” earthenware.
What the problems were faced by potters
The Chinhat pottery industry survived on its own and the government did not help them in marketing and sales. The lone government unit, started in 1957, was shut down in 1997 because the officials declared it a loss-making venture. No efforts were made to revive it.
The advent of Khurja pottery, known for its blue and white designs, further dented the market. Consumer choices also shifted to melamine ware that was unbreakable.
Incidentally, it was the Chinhat pottery that introduced coffee mugs in the market because Lucknow, till then, was comfortable with traditional cups and saucers. Also people did not buy mugs but gradually they found it more convenient and this became our largest selling item.
The potters in Chinhat, interestingly, did not receive any training in the craft or design.They kept seeing pottery in the market and kept improvising. The women made new designs and helped them with the painting. They also improvised on shapes and designs if the customers gave them inputs. If the government will provide them support, the industry could have grown by leaps and bounds.
According to the research it founds that chinhat potters had sent a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office for reviving the industry under the start-up scheme. The MSME ministry can also help them. We have also asked chief minister Yogi Adityanath to include Chinhat pottery in the ‘One district One Product’ scheme along with ‘zardozi’.
What government can do for them
As we know that chinhat pottery industry survived on its own and the government did not help them in marketing and sale so from them government should reopen the industry and motivate peoples to buy it. As the workers are up to dated and knows the news design which were on trend in the market so for the purpose of decor peoples can easily buy them.
Government should start exporting it in foreign countries which can be a huge advantage for the industry. As the potters in chinhat ,did not get any training for craft and design so government should start a training center also government should add pottery courses in chinhat for the youth so the interested student can get a better education as well as knowledge about it.
As a buyer how can we help them
A) We can use pottery things for home decor.
B) We should serve food in utensils made by pottery instead serving food in utensils of steel and glasses.
C) We should start consume more and more pottery things because somewhere it reminds the memory of village.
D) Due to the advancement people shift to other things instead of pottery so we should motivate peoples tell them that this is not an old fashion this is upgraded with the new trends present in the market.