Jar. “Black pottery” with designs in silver; 31 cm x 25 cm. Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. Contemporary. MC/460.

Nizamabad, in Azamgarh, is known for its “black” pottery where double glazing and double firing in a totally sealed container lends the pottery a wonderful lustrous black color. The beauty of the technique, however, lies in the engraving, or nakkashi, usually in floral patterns, which is executed on the semi-dry pot with a fine bamboo twig. After firing, a powdered mixture of lead, mercury and tin or bukani is filled in by hand onto the etched grooves of the design, washed with water, and finally burnished to highlight the starry sparkle of the design against the black ground of the terracotta.

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