Elegant, stately and unique, the iconic terracotta (clay craft) horse
- with its unusually long neck, and contrasting short, compact body, of Bankura district in West Bengal is one of the most recognised symbols of Indian folk art.
The terracotta horses are first crafted on the potter's wheel in seven separate pieces, which are then joined using clay - by a process called ghora jora, following which leaf-like ears, fine dots and detailing with floral and geometric designs are attached to the body.
The artistic clay figures are sun-dried, smoothened, designed and coloured before being fired in traditional village kilns.
The many legends about the origin of the horse include that it would be offered to appease Dharma Thakur, Manasa and numerous other village deities.
Turned out in two colours - red and black, the terracotta horses produced in the village of Panchmura (near Bishnupur) are the most famous.
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