Crafts of Uttar Pradesh Ethnic Arts & Crafts

From Earth to Art: The Enduring Charm of Nizamabad Black Clay Pottery

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

ॐ श्री गणाधिपतये नमः

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The black clay pottery of Nizamabad in the Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh, India is a unique type of clay pottery that is well-known for its distinctive dark, shiny body adorned with engraved silver patterns.

In recognition of its cultural and historical significance, it was granted a Geographical Indication (GI) tag in December 2015, which serves to protect and promote the craft by conferring exclusive naming rights to the geographic region of its origin.

The black clay pottery of Nizamabad is a testament to the skill and creativity of the artisans who have passed down their techniques through generations, making it an integral part of the region’s rich cultural heritage.

Pottery :

The pottery is crafted using locally sourced, fine-textured clay that is molded into various shapes and fired in kilns. Afterward, the clay wares are cleansed with vegetable matter powder and massaged with mustard oil.

Decorative grooves featuring floral and geometric patterns are etched into the pottery using sharp twigs. Rice husks are utilized to smoke-fire the pottery in enclosed kilns, imparting the distinctive, glossy black surface.

Next, the pottery is subjected to another round of kiln baking and is subsequently filled with a silvery amalgam of Zinc and Mercury, which highlights the grooves against the black background of the clay. Finally, the pottery is washed, polished, and sometimes coated with lacquer while still hot, resulting in a stunning shine.

This traditional method of pottery-making has been practiced for generations and is deeply ingrained in the local culture. The artisans who create these pieces have honed their craft over many years, using their expertise to produce functional and aesthetically pleasing pieces of art.

Despite the prevalence of modern, machine-made pottery, there is still a demand for handcrafted pottery that embodies the unique cultural identity of the region. Each piece tells a story and is a testament to the skill and dedication of the artisans who make them.

A diverse range of household and decorative items are crafted by skilled artisans, including vases, plates, pots, lamps, tea-pots, bowls, vessels, incense stick holders, and statues of Hindu religious figures.

One particularly popular item is the Surahi, a long-necked water pot that is both functional and visually striking. These handcrafted pieces are not only practical for daily use but also serve as beautiful adornments for homes and workplaces alike.

History :

The origin of this craft can be traced back to the Kutch region of Gujarat state, but during the Mughal rule of Aurangzeb, some potters from the region migrated to Nizamabad and brought their skills with them.

The artisans in Nizamabad have added their own unique touch to the craft by incorporating silver patterns inspired by Bidriware of Hyderabad, which uses silver wires to decorate pots. Today, around 200 families are involved in the craft in Nizamabad, and while the majority of their works are exported, their living conditions remain dismal.

In October 2013, the black clay pottery was submitted for a Geographical Indication (GI) tag with the support of NABARD of Lucknow and the Human Welfare Association of Varanasi. The GI tag was granted in December 2015, which gives the right to name the product to a specific geographic region of origin only.

Historians have taken note of the black clay pottery due to its resemblance to the Northern Black Polished Ware pottery of the urban Iron Age culture of the Indian Subcontinent, making it an important part of the region’s cultural heritage.

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Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Introducing Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar - a specialist academically trained in modern Western sciences, yet deeply enamored with India's timeless ethnic arts, crafts, and textiles. Her heart beats for the rich and glorious cultural and spiritual heritage of India, and she has dedicated her entire blog to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide. Through her simple yet impactful blog posts, Mala aims to reach every nook and corner of the globe, sharing India's beauty and wisdom with the world.

But Mala doesn't stop at just sharing her own thoughts and ideas. She welcomes constructive criticisms and suggestions to improve her blog and make it even more impactful. And if you share her passion for India's culture and heritage, she extends a warm invitation for high-quality guest blog posts.

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4 replies on “From Earth to Art: The Enduring Charm of Nizamabad Black Clay Pottery”

Hello Mala,
This is Shailja writing to document this craft for a fellowship project could you please help me with your contact details so that I could get in touch?

Great article! I found the information shared here to be highly valuable and informative. The content you created caught my attention. Thank you for shedding light on this topic and encouraging discussions. I look forward to reading more engaging content from you in the future. Keep up the excellent work!. Also Read my informative content on

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