Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bharani jars from Kerala

Dakshinachitra is an open air museum of traditional South Indian architecture. Traditional houses displayed there also feature traditional household items. In a traditional Hindu house from the South Indian state of Kerala I saw interesting earthenware jars. Unlike the unglazed Indian terracotta ware used for cooking, these jars were glazed earthenware (see the picture). Later, I learned that in Kerala these jars are called Cheena Bharani because they were originally made in China for transporting preserved foods. Bharani jars would regularly end up in Kerala through maritime trade, where they were used for preparation and storage of Indian style pickles. To me, these jars emanate what Japanese call wabi. It was interesting to see three different traditional glazes and a very unintentional partial glazing used on the leftmost jar.

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