The term Terracotta is used usually to define those exotic sculptures which are made of clay or you can say burnt clay. The Terracotta technique is also used to form many unique creations of Terracotta crafts for various useful purposes in daily life like vessels, flower pots, bricks and even the surface add-ons in buildings. In Italian language, the word ‘Terracotta’ means ‘baked earth’. It is generally that type of earthenware which is found either in the form of unglazed clay or in glazed ceramic form.
Terracotta crafts have been in existence since a very long time. In fact, it is believed to be the only clay product available which was used until the 14th century. Archaeologists have found many Terracotta crafts or sculptures, which are almost or more than 5,000 years old. To make perfection in Terracotta crafts, the potters at first have to collect clay that is appropriately refined. It’s very important to bring the desired shape in Terracotta crafts.
After making the clay dry, it is placed in a furnace or on the top of the flammable materials placed in a pit and is then fired. During this process, the temperature of the fire should be around 1,000 °C and then the iron reacts with oxygen which results in a burnt body having reddish color. The Terracotta crafts or pottery is used as garden pots or for many other decorative purposes in many occasions. Terracotta crafts like oil lamps, ovens can also be gracefully made with this unique terracotta technique.
In West Bengal, the artists in the villages of Bankura, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Birbhum, Burdwan, Paschim Medinipur, Nadia, Hooghly, North 24-Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts are renowned all over for their most attractive and varied Terracotta crafts. They create an outstanding collection of Terracotta products like lamps, pots, musical instruments, flower vases, horses, idols, plates, elephants, and other highly attractive Terracotta crafts.