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Indian & South Asian Vases

The South Asian vase has evolved from a crudely rendered and unglazed utilitarian object to the often highly ornamental household item that it is today. Indian vases emerged shortly after the advent of pottery in the Indus Valley civilization, which has been traced back as far as the Neolithic period.

While many early examples of earthen handicrafts from the Neolithic period were constructed solely by hand, there is also evidence supporting the fact that they pioneered the use of the wheel in their production technique. This innovation allowed artisans to mold their materials in previously unimagined ways, leading to the creation of the characteristic elongated neck of Indian vases.

Materials and production techniques influence the value and popularity of South Asian vases available today. Terracotta represents one of the oldest materials used in the construction of vases and remains among the most popular. Additionally, vases made from the blue pottery of Jaipur are highly sought after for their iconic and entrancing aesthetic that is innately Indian. Contemporary vases in India and Southeast Asia apply modern production techniques and materials in the production of vases that maintain aspects of their traditional aesthetic.

Quick Facts

  • Renowned craftsmen and potter Kripal Singh Shekhawat (1922-2008) has been largely credited with the revival of blue pottery of Jaipur as a popular and celebrated art form throughout India
  • Glazed pottery, which enabled the creation of more durable and intricately decorated vases, materialized in this region during the 12th century when Turkic Muslim rulers urged potters from Central Asia to settle in India
  • Today, vases in India and throughout South Asia are produced by large scale international factories as well as local artisans that create and sell their wares to fellow villagers

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