25 Beautiful Indian Terracotta Sculptures and History of Terracotta Art

Indian Terracotta Sculptures

Indian terracotta sculptures are filled with beautiful stories and they are rich in culture. Terracotta sculptures in India started during the the Indus valley civilization period. Stones and metals were difficult to procure during those ages. Most artifacts in India are made by terracotta. If you have visited Indian temples, all the sculptures on the walls were made by terracotta ages ago. Most mythological deities and their vehicles were made using terracotta. Mythological stories were conveyed to the masses using these terracotta sculptures. Nowadays terracotta is used for creating decorative items used for festivals like Navaratri and in pottery, which can be used as interior decorative items.

Indian Terracotta Sculptures

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History of Terracotta

The mixture of earth and water burned at a certain temperature creates these wonderful terracotta objects. The easily available products makes it one of the most fondly sought after materials for sculptures and architecture. Terracotta has an origin since the Indus valley civilization, roughly around 3300 and 1700 BC. Many artifacts were created using terracotta and some of them are still in existence in museums. India is largely known for the extensive use of terracotta since centuries ago. One of the most popular terracotta sculptures is the Chinese terracotta army, which consists of 8000 soldiers and 250 horses. It was discovered in 1974 in the first emperor's mausoleum.


Ancient Days of Terracotta Sculptures

During ancient times, terracotta was used for making deities. One of the largest terracotta sculptures ever made are Ayannar horses. These horses are considered as guardian angels which protect borders and ward away evil. These large terracotta horse sculptures are found mostly in southern parts of India. Lord Ganesha(terracotta sculptures) is created in various sizes during the festival of Ganesh Chathurthi and they are returned back to the sea at the end of the sea. Similarly,Goddess Durga terracotta sculptures are quite popular in Northern parts of India. Air, water, fire


Modern Days of Terracotta Sculptures

Drinking cups, vases, cooking utensils are mostly made from these terracotta sculptures. In Rajasthan, white terracotta vases with beautiful paintings are used as decorative items. Terracotta is so versatile it fits into modern and contemporary themes. Sculptures of Buddha are prominently found in many Indian houses. The humble tulsi plant sits on terracotta beds. Indian jewellery is given a new twist, since most of the jewellery these days are made using terracotta. Terracotta material is easily moldable, so creating art is much easier compared to other metals.


Terracotta temples

During the Bhakti movement, many terracotta temples sprung up in many parts of India. The walls of the temples are mostly inscribed with deities. The stories of Ramayana can be found as terracotta sculptures in most of the north Indian temples which started during the Krishna Bhakti movement and which lasted for nearly 3 centuries. Bishnupur in West Bengal is popular for terracotta temples. These temples were built during the 17th - 18th centuries. Some of the popular terracotta temples are Palpare Terracotta Temple, Jor Bangla Temple, Nandokishore Temple, Kalachand Temple, Chinnamasta Mandir, Bhoga Nandishwara Temple, Javari Temple and more. Most of the terracotta temples are mostly found in West Bengal.

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