Rogan-i-Keam: Young Potter tackles the mystery of Kashmiri glaze

Infusing the new lease of life into the valley’s famous glazed pottery style through his innovative designs in decorative tiles to pots and ‘kangris’, Mohammad Umar Kumar’s work has managed to attract a considerable number of patrons.

Hailing from the family of ceramicists and designers, he had learned Rogan-i-Keam sometime back with no certainty of making a fortune in it, but of late the support of the Handicrafts Department has encouraged many such young artisans to revive the lesser-known crafts. 

In addition, activities like darning and Kalam Kari will be given a special focus, and the languishing crafts Silverware, Glazed Pottery, and Filigree will be taken up for revival. It is observed that strengthening the activities from the ground level shall help in strengthening the GI Products and ensuring the quality of the Handicrafts.

Making glazed pottery required a lot of hard work. The Srinagar-based pottery also called the Khanyar pottery that churned the glazed form of earthenware is gradually diminishing due to the few takers.  According to him, the pots and other items are made with clay only, later it is colored in the fire. First, color is developed 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 to local media.

State in collaboration with the center has been running the skill dissemination programs both at the elementary and advanced level for some time in Kashmir. In order to bring transparency in the running of these Training Centres, a dashboard-type of software has been designed in collaboration with NIT to ensure real-time monitoring.

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.

This cooperation from the state has led to a successful upgrade of a pottery enterprise to one making glazed items at this workplace at Nishat. This unit has every chance to grow in strength and diversity where one can also place orders to customize glazed items.

Images by The Kashmir Monitor

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