Jaipur is well known for its blue art pottery. This craft had its beginning in the first part of the 19th century. Blue pottery came to India from Persia and Afghanistan, but the Jaipur craftspersons learnt the art from the Delhi and Multan potters. After the Mughal era, there was a temporary lull till the craft was revived by master craftsman Kirpal Singh Shekhawat.
The base for this pottery is quartz and not clay. All the materials that are used — quartz, raw glaze, sodium sulphate, and fuller’s earth or multani mitti — require the same temperature, and the pottery needs to be fired only once. The slip does not develop any cracks, and the pottery is impervious, hygienic, and suitable for daily use. The neck and the lip are shaped on the wheel. For the decorative work, the pot is rotated and the ornamentation is done with a brush made of squirrel hair.
The turquoise or blue colour is obtained by mixing crude copper oxide from old scrap baked in a kiln, with salt or sugar, and then filtering it for use. The dark ultramarine colour is got from cobalt oxide. Some of the pottery is semi-transparent and it is decorated with arabesque patterns, interspersed with animal and bird motifs. The other shades found in the pottery are pink, yellow, green, brown, mauve, gray, and black. The products made include plates, flower vases, soap dishes, surahis (small pitcher), trays, coasters, fruit bowls, door knobs, and glazed tiles with hand painted floral designs. The craft is found mainly in Jaipur, but also in Sanganer, Mahalan, and Neota.