CLAY TOYS AND POTTERYThe indigenous traditional clay toys had a decisive psychological effect upon children. They also reflect their sensibilities. The inherent sensibility in the young mind could be properly poked, guided and fostered from early childhood through the judicious choice of playthings of taste and beauty. Toys are made of wood, clay, paper and cloth. The clay toys are remarkable for their affinity with some objects discovered from the Indus valley sites such as clay carts, grouped animals, terracotta figurines resembling toys, etc. Among other specimens of toys unearthed from Mohenjodaro, Harappa and other chalcolithic sites were Ghuggu, a kind of whistle and Chhankana, very similar to rattlebox. Fashion did not stale them for centuries, and the village potters of Punjab continued to make them till 1947. These folk toys were commonly known as "Ale-lihole-ghuggu-ghore". These ageless clay toys were established by habit and association. To a grown-up, the terracotta figurines of bulls, horses, etc. represent domestic animals: but to a child at home, they are toys. Among the toys household objects, "Handwai" in the local parlance denoted a group of utensils such as "Prat" (tray), "Chulha" (oven), "Handi" (kettle), "Channi" (grater), "Tawa" (iron plate for baking Chapatis),. and a "Dol" (utensil for storing water). These toys were great favourites with small girls, and were probably intended to inculcate in them the responsibilities of a good housewife when they grew up and set up their own home. These toys are not painted in gay and bright colours like their counterparts from other provinces.
|The clay toys used to be made by Muslim potters before partition. They are no longer available in Punjab, because their creators now reside in Pakistan. It is learnt that they are still being made in Pakistan. The ritual and cult objects and votive figurines are typical products of rural culture. They can be singled out for their vigorous intensity and directness. Their approach to simple solid forms is very primitive.|
|Deeva or Clay lamps are made expressly on the occasion of Diwali.|
|In the villages, the potter obtains his raw material, i.e. clay, free of cost from a nearby pond (Chhappar). In addition to the toys he makes clay pottery, Surahi and Ghara (vessels for storing water), dishes, jars, etc., which he sells at very little profit. The traditional forms havegood proportions that only objects whose shapes are dictated exclu-sively by function. Constant repetition with slight variations often brings refinements of proportion to a classic purity. Each shape fulfils its function admirably. The tall narrow-necked jar (Martaban) and similar specimens of pottery have disappeared from post-partition Punjab.|
|Some specimens of clay pottery can still be seen on certain festivals. They are decorated with different colours, which reinforce and streng-then their form. Sgraffito decorations are also used, though always with restraint. Designs are mainly traditional, and are used in places which reinforce the shape of the pot. Structural points are often emphasized with bands, borders, or patterns at the lower neck and the shoulder up to the middle portion. Red and black colours are commonly used on the entire surface which is enlivened by green, blue, and white lines. The same colour patterns on the band are very striking. In an extremely tradition-bound industry as village pottery of the area, changes can be rare.|
Sources: Cultural Heritage of Punjab, K C Aryan