ALIGARH metacluster located in north western Uttar Pradesh,reflects many cultural characteristics of the neighbouring Braj Bhoomi,known as Lord Krishna country.Aligarh city,once called Kol,is a district headquarter and an important agricultural trade centre.
It houses the well known Aligarh Muslim University.During Mughal times it was an important sarai,transit camp,for travellers on their way to Agra.The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb had a garrison built,which is how the town became a cluster for locksmiths.There are some 3000 units still handcrafting brass locks in the old city.The handmade locks are difficult to pick and many have interesting features like trick combinations.At present,hand-made locks face competition and are proving no match for the cheaply available pin-cylinder Chinese locks.The locksmiths have taken to casting decorative ware in brass.Aligarh is also well known for patchwork called patti ka kaam.In the old quarter,julahas,weavers,weave dhurries.During Mughal times the region was an important centre of indigo cultivation and saltpetre industry.Khurja in Bulandshahr district and Chinhat in Lucknow district,are two clusters producing glazed pottery and crockery in stoneware and bone china.Hathras and Jalesar have metal working clusters.A wide range of cotton rugs and handloom fabrics are woven in Hathras.
IN THE 14th century,some potters from Timurlane`s retreating army stayed on at Khurja, Delhi, Jaipur and Multan (Pakistan) and set up blue pottery workshops. The potters were from Egypt, Syria, Turkey and Persia. Khurja, earlier a potter`s village,
became a centre for blue pottery,and later on of glazed ceramic ware,though unlike in Jaipur (Rajasthan),the raw material has clay mixed in the feldspar and quartz.The pottery has identifiable painted floral patterns,in shades of blue and brown, on an off-white background.A thick slip is used to raise some motifs in relief.The potters have also developed orange,brown, and light red glazes.Chinhat,which is in Lucknow district in central Uttar Pradesh, also originally a potter`s village, is a smaller cluster for ceramics and glazed terracotta.Chinhat ceramics have a rough appeal and characteristics green and brown glazes.The low plasticity of clay makes throwing a little difficult so most of the forms are cast.
Firing in Chinhat and Khurja is done at 1180 to 1200 centigrade.Both clusters have a big domestic market and also export to Europe and Saudi Arabia. There are 500 ceramic units in Khurja town.
Planters, Flower vases
Cups,Mugs, Plates, Dishes / Bowls, Spoons, Pitchers, bone china crockery
Glazed terracotta, Bone China, ceramics.
Bowls, Mugs, Plates
Toys-kitchen sets, Birds & animal forms
Glazed roof tiles