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The ancient craft of pottery in Azerbaijan

06 June 2014 [09:25] - TODAY.AZ
By AzerNews

Pottery is an art dealing with shaping clay. It has three production lines: manufacturing of ordinary construction bricks; manufacturing of different clay dishes and producing items such as fireproof brick, tiles, faience pipe, etc.

Pottery items are among the oldest handicrafts in Azerbaijan which has maintained its importance to this day. Specialists believe that the origin of the art dates back to Neolithic Era. The pottery which used to be a female profession, turned into an independent art or profession as a result of a number of technical achievements in the Eneolite Age.

At the end of Middle Ages, pottery reached to a high level in Azerbaijan. During the period of progress which continued till Mongol, some substantial changes have taken place in quality and quantity of the art.

The invention of a wheel driven by foot and the launch of manufacturing glazed plates created more suitable conditions for the manufacture of porcelain items.

During this period, all cities and provinces of Azerbaijan were filled with faience plates. As a result of archeological excavations in many settlements including those in Beylagan, many clay plates were discovered.

Archival documents and other written sources of the Khanate period testify to the manufacturing of faience items in Shamakhy, Shaki, Ardabil, Tabriz, Nakhchivan, Ganja, Ordubad and other cities of Azerbaijan.

Information about faience plates in the Nakhchivan Khanate was more available than those about other khanates. One of the pottery workshops in Ordubad was located in the ancient Caravanserai.

It is also likely that pottery manufacturing was underway in Baku, too. Different types of clay fields in the suburbs of the city created suitable conditions for the production of faience items here.

Excavations carried out by V. N. Leviatov in the city part located near the castle in 1946 revealed many glazed plates, dishes and vessels dating back to XVII-XVIII centuries, which were domestically made.

This art lives in Ganja which had been one of the main centers of the manufacture of faience plates during the Middle Ages as well.

Products of the Ganja potters were recognized in one of the available sources. They were characterized as "masters who know their job well". Excellent types of clay from the surrounding territories were processed in two big workshops of the city and then transformed into faience items of high quality.

Although the mastery of pottery dates back to the old times, one can't say that it is outdated nowadays. It has retained its place in Azerbaijani handicraft in modern days, too. More developed means of production allow craftsmen to present various samples, especially modern-shaped ones.

Azerbaijan's attractiveness for tourism paves the way for increasing tourist inflow into the country year-on-year and it gives an impetus to keeping pottery afloat. An interest shown by foreigners in pottery products proves that it has captured their hearts. Locals are not indifferent to pottery, either.

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