KATHMANDU, Jan 4: Under a blazing winter sun in a corner of a maze of old buildings and temples, Dinesh Kumar Prajapati, 70, kneads lump of clay. His ancestors did the same. Knead clay, put it on wheels to mold them into desired shapes, bake them in furnaces, and sell them in the market.
The oldest pottery ever made can be found in Lumbini and is over 2,600 years old. This goes to show that pottery making has long been a tradition in Nepal where there was once a system that had certain families specializing in certain tasks, be it woodwork, artwork, business to name a few. Pottery making is also something that has continued throughout the years as people took it up to carry on their family legacy. But the interest to do so is definitely waning as of now and pottery makers are also struggling to keep up with the changing times.
Until few years ago, pottery used to be the source of livelihood for the Kumal community. Pots that were made by the community were exchanged for millet, rice, maize and other food items. For 95-year-old Laxman Kumar, a resident of Hasintar of Bidur Municipality Ward 5, pottery has been his entire life. People in the community used to sell their creations -- gagro, hadi, gamala, aari, diyo -- exchanging them with the quantity of food items that filled these pots.
BHAKTAPUR, March 11: From an ancient period, Bhaktapur’s Pottery Square has been a hub for the locals to earn their living through pottery. Elderly people as well as the local youths, especially belonging to the Prajapati community, have been participating to preserve this age-long culture.
Bhaktapur has never failed to amaze its visitors with its age-long artistry. Far from the hustle and bustle of city life, at the south of Bhaktapur Durbar Square, there resides a Newar community that has been depending on clay for survival since time immemorial. One of the communities gaining mastery at molding clays is certainly the Prajapatis, the locals of Bhaktapur.