Clay Pot Making – Traditional Mud Pot Craft In India

Dishes cooked in mud pots are more flavourful than when they are done in metal vessels. Similarly, a sip of water is cool and refreshing when they are stored in mud pots. The simple, yet delicate to handle material has the ability to enhance any item that is placed in it. Crafted by the motion and moulding technique by the potter, earthen pots reflect the social, economic and environmental conditions that a culture thrived, and helps archaeologists and researchers understand the roots of our ancient past.

History of pottery

History of pottery

For centuries, mankind has depended on clay for building material for a shelter. Most importantly for humans, clay was used as cookware. Pots made out of clay allowed food to be easily cooked over fire, which reduced bacteria and released nutrients. As clay is porous, it captures moisture in the dish and allows it to circulate while cooking.
Indian pottery has been found dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization. Most Asian nations are pretty well known for their pottery, which is slowly making its way around the world.
According to history, India is believed to be the country where the craft of pottery originated and was carefully sculpted before spreading throughout the world. Actually, there was a time when the old Indian business class considered pottery to be their primary source of income. Indian culture is well visible in the many pottery art forms. As times evolved, as did pottery, particularly in the method of moulding. There are unglazed pottery, glazed pottery and terracotta. The types of pottery are earthen ware, stoneware and porcelain.

What are Indian clay pots?

Pottery village in India

Indian clay pots are earthenware pots that have been used for centuries for Indian cooking. They are unglazed, free of any toxic materials or lead, and are 100% eco-friendly. The cookware is known by multiple names such as handi, matka, and manchatti.
Back in the day, clay pots were present in almost every household– handed down from generation to generation. In India, the clay pots are handcrafted by local artisans. To this day, in rural areas and villages, food is still prepared in handis.

Making Process

The process of making pottery is almost similar in all parts of India but due to the craftsmen improvise the process by adding some of their creativity or personal touch.

Kneading clay dough

Clay is pounded out into clay powder. Then well kneaded

Initially chunks of clay locally known as chiknimitti is collected from the river banks and stored. The chunks are beaten with the help of a wooden mallet to convert them into clay powder and further refined using a filter to obtain fine powder, by removing the impurities. Clay is mixed with required amount of sand and water and kneaded until a soft clay dough is acquired. Clay dough is stored in a moist free place for almost 2 months and it is required to knead once again to obtain fine grained soil while using to attain the property of elasticity.

The craftsman begins to shape the clay

Potter’s wheel is called Chak in local language is used to shape the clay into desired form. Clay dough is placed at the center of the turning wheel and water is sprinkled to make the clay wet. As the wheel is turned, craftsmen starts to shape the clay. Potter’s wheel is rotated manually or by electric drive. Water is added frequently to retain the moisture. The clay is shaped into desired form. A smooth surfaced stone is used to slide along the shaped article to smoothen and level the article’s surface while turning and finished piece is cut and separated from the wheel with the help of a thread. The shaped articles are dried in direct sunlight. Cooking pots, water storing pots are the basic products made from clay.


A pot holder is fixed on the turning wheel and the partially dried clay pot is placed upside down on the holder. With the help of a round metal tool excess clay is scraped out and the pot is given a proper shape. The edges and surface of the article is shaped with the smooth stone.

Finishing and drying

Finished articles are dried in the direct sunlight for a day. Red oxide stone is powdered and soaked in water for overnight to obtain a red color solution to paint on the clay articles and dried. The products are then baked in a kiln to strengthen the quality and make them more durable. Backed products are painted with enamel colors to make them look more attractive and eye catching. Most of the craftsmen involved in this craft are male and have been producing clay articles from decades.
Please watch the video below for more information. Thank you for visiting our website! We hope you will find something of interest on our website. Watch the video in the below:

Video source: Making Man

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