The famed baked clay or ‘terracotta’ product made from special soil found in Bhathat area of Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur district may soon get Geographical Indication (GI) tag. Terracotta was selected under the ‘One District One Product’ scheme of the Uttar Pradesh government and will soon get the GI tag.
Once the GI tag is conferred it will give legal protection to the products and will prevent unauthorised use of registered GI tag. GI tag helps to brand the product and eventually helps in boosting export potential of the products.
Gorakhpur is known for red terracotta. Terracotta of Gorakhpur is not just a means of livelihood or a skill, it is an art nurtured for generations in the rural areas of the district. Applique, ornamentation, natural saffron colour and experiments with innovative shapes are some the features that make this art different in Gorakhpur. Terracotta products are also the major source of income for the residents of Aurangabad area in this district.
The clay used in the terracotta products is ‘Kabis’ clay which is found in the ponds of Aurangabad, Bharwalia and Budhadih areas. Also, such clay is found only in the months of May and June, as in the rest of the year, the ponds are filled with water. No colour is used in the making of terracotta products and the red colour of terracotta does not fade for years. Clay structure is dipped in a mixture of soda and mango tree barks, and bake it. The terracotta artistes make various structures like bells, vases, Hindu God ‘Ganesha’, tables, elephants, deer, horses, bullock carts, horse carts, lamps, chandeliers etc. Despite the richness of their art and the numerous laurels, the artists live in penury as they often fail to get the right price for their products.