Terracotta is an age – old craft of Rajasthan. Terracotta art in Rajasthan is very significant in the State because for these villagers the worship of their terracotta deities is as basic and essential for survival .
Molela is a small, non descript village in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan, settled on the banks of the Banas River. Approx thirty families in the Molela are engaged in this art of clay.The privileged is the terracotta plaques made here, only here all over India.
unlike the usual icon & model made elsewhere, this craft is unique in design. Once a year the tribals buy the brightly painted terracotta plaques from these potters. The most important figures are that of Devnarayan(Dharmaraja) and Nagaraja(the snake God). The tribals prefer bright colours for Gods and there are specific colours to depict each God.For instance, Blue is used for Kaladev and Orange is used for Goradev. The tribals usually change these votive every year. They consider these Gods as their protectors.
There is a legend behind this unique craft that claims that there was a blind potter, who dreamt of God Devnararyan (Dharmaraja). The God asked him to dig clay at a particular place and make his image.The next morning, his sight was restored. He made the God’s image to fulfil his promise. Thus the future generations took to this craft. The traditional design is an image of Dharamaraja on a horse.
Like most crafts, Murtikala has been passed from generation to generation, through the sons of the family, evolving with each generation. Typically the women do the hard work of getting the clay ready while the men make the murtis and decorate them.
Molela clay is muddy in colour. It is dug from the banks of Banas river, 2 Kms away from Molela on Nathdwara Road Near Udaipur. Each potter has his own spot for digging based on his own previous experiences. For the colours, they use natural stone and mineral colours. Palewa is the clay slip and makes different colours when mixed with other elements
In the process, first donkey dung powder is spread on the ground. After removing impurities from the clay, the slab is cut, with the help of an iron tool, into the shape that forms the surface to support the relief figure.The slab is beaten with the pindi. While making the slab, the pindi is cleaned with the tool called baldi. When the slab becomes 1.5 inch thick, a wooden tool called patiya is used for beating. After this,approx measurement are taken with the palm and the surface is smoothened by hand. Having cut the main shape, thick coils are made,flattened and added to the main slab to make a shape.
The family potter : Awarded By Padma Shri
Mohanlal Chaturbhuj Kumhar is an artisan of Molela Rajasthan. He is awarded by , Kala shree Award1991 [foreign Work shop], Raj Ratan Award1997,State Award 1984,Master Craftman National Award 1988 , Maharana shajansingh Award 2001, Shilp Guru Award 2003, Padma Shri in 2012;
Dinesh Chandra Mohanlal Kumhar. His work is in many national collections in India and also Internationally. He has shown work at the
Mr. Khemraj Kumhar, the head of a large family of potters( sons, daughters, daughter in laws, and grand-children) was himself one of four sons trained with his father; who was nationally known and respected as a terracotta-sculptor- potter.
Mukesh Prajapat is a young talented Molela terracotta artist. He has inherited the skill of turning clay into diversified forms from his father. He has setup a studio in his village Molela under the name “Bhairav Terracotta Art Centre“, which can cater to 30 participants in learning the art form.
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY :- Divya Prajapat ,Udaipur