Terracotta, the word stands for baked earth. It is made from natural clay, which gives it a characteristic reddish-brown color. The inexpensive and durable craft form is also widely used in decorative arts. Traces of terracotta pottery can be found in one of the earliest civilizations of Mohanjodaro, Harrapa, Kausambi, Mathura and Kashi. Vedic period also displays a significant tradition of pottery and terracotta prevalent at those times. This craft of Bastar, which is known for its unique and intricate style, is famous for its elephant and horse figures. The craft form is an outcome of various social, religious, and functional needs of the region. The clay of Bastar region has tremendous plasticity and strength, hence good for making big pots. Initially only handis, pitchers and pots were made for sale in the local market. It gradually increased to creating masks, animal figures and sculptures. Now contemporary forms like penholders, lamps, and paperweights are also made. Animal figures of Bastar elephant and horse are the most famous ones, renowned for their unique style and ornamentation.
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