Pottery – Evolution and significance 2-2

Pottery – Evolution and significance

Pottery or ceramics or ceramic art refers to the creation of objects that are made up of hard brittle material produced from non-metallic minerals by moulding them while the material is wet and then firing them at high temperatures. They are often made up of clay, porcelain, steatite, etc.

Pottery plays an important role in studying culture and reconstructing the past. Historically with distinct culture, the style of pottery changed. It reflects the social, economic and environmental conditions a culture thrived in, which helps the archaeologists and historians in understanding our past. It holds significant value in understanding cultures where script was either absent or remains undeciphered. Understanding of presence of fire, cooking, storage, sedentary or migratory populace, social stratification can all be developed via studying pottery.

For people, pottery provided opportunity to store, cook, transport, trade and essentially became an expression of artistic creativity.

Pottery is majorly of two types

  1. Handmade
  2. Wheel thrown

Handmade pottery is rather a primitive style pottery developed in early ages which with time transforms to wheel thrown. The different motifs drawn on the surface plays an important role in understanding a culture and its beliefs.

Evolution of Pottery

I. Neolithic Age

We find the first reference of pottery in this age. Naturally it is hand-made pottery but during the later period footwheel is also used.


II. Chalcolithic Age

Chalcolithic Era, the first metal age, is marked by the occurrence of distinct cultures in various parts of our country namely – Ahar culture in South Eastern Rajasthan, Malwa culture in Western MP, Jorwe culture in Western Maharashtra, etc.

People of this age used different kinds of pottery.

1. Black-and-red-ware Pottery

Black and red ware seems to have been widely used. Cultures like Ahar-Banas showed the presence of Black and Red ware pottery with white linear designs.

3. Ochre Coloured Pottery (OCP) - Harappan contemporary. Copper hoards. Red and Orange.