Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 44, Tuesday, April 6, 2004

















plants & pottery

ACCORDING to an Indian legend, the first pot was made for storing amrita (the nectar of immortality). It was thrown up by a huge whirlpool in the ocean. Whether or not you agree with that assertion, this much is true, when we say that the production of pottery is one of the most ancient arts.

A trip through the historical background of pottery tells us that the oldest body of pottery dates back to the Jomon period in Japan (from about 10,500 to 400BC), and even the earliest Jomon ceramics exhibited a unique sophistication of technique and design. Excavations in the East have revealed that primitive fired-clay vessels were made more than 8000 years ago. Potters were working with iron by 5000 BC, and earthenware was probably being produced even earlier, on the Iranian plateau. Chinese potters had developed distinct techniques by about 5000 BC. In the New World, many Pre-Columbian American cultures developed highly artistic pottery traditions. Development of Western pottery since the beginning of the Renaissance was also very significant from different points of view.

The history of Bangladeshi pottery art is also an old one, dating as far back as the Mohenjodaro and Harappa civilisations. Some earthenware was found after the excavation of Mohasthangarh in Bogra (300 BC). In addition to that, the Paharpur and Moinamoti excavation sites yielded some truly exquisite pieces, which our country can be proud of. The terracotta art used in the Kantajee temple of Dinajpur is truly remarkable in terms of texture and quality. The 'Neelpadma' found in the Lalmai of Comilla is unparalleled. Some of these artefacts have been kept in the site museums of the various locations. The folk arts of these categories are now being used most tastefully in modern design, and for decoration purposes in construction in Bangladesh.

Pottery is now a commercial product. The combination of pottery and green plants can be effectively used to upgrade any interior décor. Glazed and unglazed khumba matkas (water pots), figurines of birds and animals, and many other items are easily available almost anywhere such as the Shishu Academy, Mirpur Road, the Dhaka railway station, and are all made locally.

These pictures show an arrangement of clay Ghora (horse figurine) and Hari (pot). These are your everyday common place earthenware items, not those outrageously expensive creative clay pottery. Green plants have been arranged in several layers. Some of the taller plants have been placed behind the earthenware, while the medium and small-sized plants have been arranged beside the pottery. Careful consideration has been given to the choice of plants. The plants used have to be able to survive indoor conditions. Money plants are local favourites, being easy to maintain, but there are many other plants you can use. Contact your local nursery to find out which plants will be most suitable for your home.

Broken rocks and inexpensive stone arrangements make the corner more attractive. The pictures show different combinations. Rope adds a richer touch, while strings and dry flowers lend variety.

The painting is the point of focus in the interior décor. An enormous clay pot and green plants have been arranged under the painting. A lamp provides a cool illuminating effect. Roots are another item used in combination with the earthenware. Guava logs, plum logs, etc. can be used along with clay items to create an unusual effect. Plants and pottery go well together, and can be accommodated almost anywhere, whether by a reading table or an office counter top.

A lot of money is not needed to bring about a few simple, but dramatic changes to your interior décor. Locally manufactured earthenware, in tandem with plants and rocks, logs, or other natural accessories can spice up any corner, within a minimum budget.

The partnership of green and clay can work together to soothe the sight and the atmosphere. In our busy urban lives, we use synthetic products that may be easy to maintain, but look stiff and dry. We need to bring back something natural into our lifestyles. Plants and pottery make the most refreshing combination for this purpose.

By Nazneen Haque Mimi, Interior consultant, JOURNEYMAN.
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Photo: Hasan Saifuddin Chandan













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