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Photos of the day – How this youth is reviving the dying profession of glazed pottery

December 1, 2021

It was a dying art in Kashmir valley until a youth infused new life into glazed pottery works through innovative designs.

From decorative tiles to pots and ‘kangris’, Mohammad Umar Kumar’s glazed pottery work has managed to attract a good number of buyers.

“I had learnt this art sometime back but I would think there is no future in Rogan-i-Keam. However, with the support of the Handicrafts Department that wanted to revive this dying art, I started to make glazed pottery works,” Umar told The Kashmir Monitor.

KM/Umar Ganie

Umar, who hails from the Nishat area of the city, said making glazed pottery required a lot of hard work.

Umar’s father has taught him everything he knows about the art of glazed pottery today – KM/Umar Ganie

“While we make pots and other items with clay only, later it is coloured in fire. First, we make a colour with fire and pour it on the tile and then it goes back into the fire. Now, we are getting a very good response as we attract a decent number of customers at our Hazratbal shop from Dhobi Ghat side. The most popular items are decorative tiles that have a design of chinar leaves. ‘Gedvih’ (pot) is also in good demand,” he said.

Umar’s father has taught him everything he knows about the art of glazed pottery today – KM/Umar Ganie

Umar said his father still sold plain pottery items but he decided to venture into glazed pottery.

KM/Umar Ganie

“My grandfather was a potter and my father is still into plain pottery. But, I decided to venture into glazed pottery and introduce new designs,” he said.

Director, Handicrafts and Handloom, Kashmir, Mahmood Ahmad Shah said glazed pottery was dying art and expressed hope that Umar’s unit would grow in ‘strength and diversity’.

“Glazed pottery was a dying art until a young enthusiast potter (Umar), Department of Handicrafts and Handloom and a reluctant teacher joined together. This cooperation led to a successful upgrade of a pottery enterprise to one making glazed items at this workplace at Nishat. Happy to note that this unit will only grow in strength and diversity where you all can place orders to customize glazed items,” he said.

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Umar Ganie

Umar Ganie is a senior photojournalist who lives and works in Srinagar, Kashmir, India. It is my job to be a visual storyteller, showing people how others live and struggles in the valley .

Umar Ganie is associated with Kashmir Monitor since 19 years and is two times elected as the treasurer of Kashmir Press Photographers Association (KPPA).

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