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Multan, the largest handicraft hub of Punjab is well known for its blue pottery craft. This art was introduced centuries ago by Persian, Chinese and Iraqi artists who came with Muhammad Bin Qasim in Multan. At the beginning of time this art reflects Persian influence, but now it is matured and has built full-fledged unique and idiosyncratic style of its own. Due to the hot atmosphere of Multan, former master artisans had specified a blue and white color for this pottery. The most common patterns are angori design, traditional Multani Kashi, TRD, Gori design and antique design is seen in shades of blue, white, brown, lime green, golden and terracotta red. Advancements in pottery pattern and stylization of forms increase its demand among consumers. Calligraphy was used mostly on tiles in the previous era made specifically for architectural adornment but now trends are changed and this art arise on decoration plates and other items. Even now blue pottery is considered a symbol of the royalty and used in beautiful architecture as utensils ornamental tiles, decorating home and for dining also.
The demand for Multan blue pottery is high among foreigners, white-collar class of Pakistan and the aesthetic lovers, while most locals seem to ignore it. Handmade tiles are mostly used in haveli's, homes and hotels.
Surprisingly this craft is being produced now for every class and on easy access due to online shops. You can never leave Multan without visiting blue pottery shops located in Sadar Bazaar, qila kuhna Qasim baagh and craft bazaar near Ghanta Ghar Chowk. There are two factories of blue pottery in Multan, Institute of Blue Pottery Development and Research Center is under TEVTA control, Ustad Aalam Institute of Blue Pottery is an independent organization, and so many artisans are working self-sufficiently in different locations of Multan.
Due to an electricity shortage in Multan, this art is started in Gujranwala, Gujrat, and Lahore too. Many handicraft shops are located in Lahore near liberty market, Anarkali bazaar, a vintage shop in Food Street and blue pottery art and craft shops near Minar e Pakistan. Online shops are the biggest perk for outsiders of Multan and Lahore. Outsiders can order blue pottery online and receive at their doorstep within few days. Online shopping trends are increasing in Pakistan from past ten years. It reduced the time and effort of a human being. Like OLX
Pakistan, Amazon, ETSY, and daraz.pk are the growing online shopping platform where blue pottery is available in the vast range. One of the best online shops is Artisans Galleria, they provide premium quality blue pottery at a reasonable price at your doorstep. Their blue pottery is a mixture of the modern and traditional blend.
Multan craft bazar is a place where approximately twenty artisans are working under a single roof. Prominent artisan like Abdul Rasheed Qureshi is specialized in ivory and bone work, he learned this art from his father and trained many students in this field. He has given forty-five years of his life to keep alive this mughal era traditional craft. The use of ivory in the manufacturing of handicrafts was quite common in decades ago, but with the sharp decline in elephant population throughout the world, ivory substitutes are camel bone. He prepared a vast range of camel bone craft from necklaces to bracelets, earrings to pen holders, ballpoint holder, animal shapes and decoration pieces.
Ustad Aalam (Late) was considered Godfather of blue pottery, after death his sons are pursuing blue pottery art and craft successfully. They are experts in making sophisticated and beautiful decoration pieces, ceramic tiles and pottery. Abdul Rehman Naqash is renowned for camel skin craft; he made various designs to décor vase, lamps, and other decoration items. Multan city is the only provider of camel skin craft in world and Naqash family is concerned with this art since many years.
Ustad Wajid is the only man in Multan left to work on red clay pottery which is also known as terracotta. Though terracotta pottery is diminishing the artisans are trying to keep their traditions alive. Ustad Aalam institute of Blue Pottery is recently started to work on terracotta.
Artisans are continuously working on product development and making improvements is those areas where this sector lack.