Terracotta, earthenware is where an art and science just breaks even. And it’s true to eternity. It commands great space in the minds of contemporary artists as a form of a classy art. On the other hand Terracotta has made enormous amount of contribution to the scientific ways of making ceramics in today’s digital world.
Making Terracotta – A Science
It has legacy to its credit since the first early civilization existed. The Indus Valley Civilization (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1600 BCE) majorly into Mohan – Jo - Dero. Terracotta was born during this time. It has evolved as science and has contributed to art in form of sculpture, pottery along with bricks and roof shingles. Terracotta in its initial years of conception never was perceived as a form of art or luxury; however it was more of a necessity for human race to grow as a civilization. Traces of Terracotta work were found in Egypt, Greece, West Bengal and pre dominantly in China.
Terracotta, evolved over a period of time in from only a mud work to heating in furnaces to give a required amount of strength in formation of bricks and roof shingles. They were once a fad and had commanded a great degree of attention as the most talked innovation during rise of European Medieval Art era in 14th century.
As a science it was much gained experience of human being during rise of early civilization where appropriate clay was formed in desired shapes and sizes. To strengthen these shapes in to form of a solid structure it was fired on 1,000 °C. It got its fierce red color due to a reaction between iron content reacting with oxygen during the process of heating or firing. However at different levels of temperature Terracotta displays wide range of colors such as pink, grey, brown and yellow. It was discovered that Teracotta is not water tight, however, surface-burnishing (surface polishing) before firing reduces its penetrability. A layer of glaze makes it water tight. It is due this scientific discovery Terracotta was commonly used in underground pressured water supplies, sanitary piping, building decorations so on so forth.
And above all it was made of just clay, which is available in abundance. And indeed is available at lower costs since inception.
Making Terracotta – An Art
And if there was something that was scientific about it, creative minds were working at making it more attractive. Terracotta got its economic value since creativity was added to perceived scientific value of such a wonderful substance, which by 14th century got the eye balls of western world. The creativity stared getting exhibited in all that was Terracotta. There were pot made with scientific approach and bent of art made it more attractive. It was a deliberate endeavor by human kind to create some innovative designs like Imperial Roof Designs in Forbidden City, Bejing. New designs using Terracotta were seen in Hindu Temples in Kalina, India.
Lately due to modernization, it is perceived as piece of great art. Needless to say, in India Terracotta is profoundly present in making jewellery and in making most fashion worthy statement. It comes in different bold sizes and shapes with great amount of detailing and precision by artisans. These artisans inherit the art of Terracotta making since generations and have been adding great glamour and substance.
Terracotta - a Science and an Art is getting immortal by contribution of few tribes who are still engaged in creating legacy. However those tribes themselves are shrinking and I wonder, where this will go...
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