Amazing Terracotta Horses of Tamil Nadu

sukkranStarred Page By sukkran, 8th Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1e03pacu/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Art>Pottery

The colorful Terracotta horses are part of the village temple rituals. Travelers can view the village temples and Terracotta horses throughout Tamil Nadu.

Tamil Village Deities and Terracotta Images

In the mythology related to Tamil Nadu Villages, terracotta figures represent a significant role in two ways they are offered as a ritual object and secondly divinities made of terracotta are propitiated on different occasions. Most of the prayerful terracotta objects are in the use of terracotta animal figures largely, horses, elephants, bulls etc.

The purpose of offering these to the spirit relates to invoking protection from evil. It may be reviewed that the practice of offering terracotta figures might have been embraced as an inexpensive alternative to sacrificing animals. The terracotta animals are also esteemed as carriers for spirits and deities, and they are used as such.

The idea of a carrier for gods and Goddesses and their greatness is a fundamental aspect of Hinduism. In the Iconography of most of the deities in Hindu pantheon, their bird and animal vehicles have been described. This concept may have some village connection.

These village deities are worshiped more or less in the same manner as their traditional deities. Sometimes a few of them are offered worship terracotta images of horses and elephants figures. . We get the reference of making terracotta as early as in the epic Mahabharata and its subsequent literature.

Terracotta Horse - Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Villages and Terracotta Horses.

Village God and Terracotta Horse - Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In every village of the ethnic group under survey, the people identify a number of places or spots as the holy places where heaps of terracotta or clay figurines of horses or elephants are offered. These are regarded as essential ritual articles. These places are under a tree, in the middle of paddy field, within the village or at the outskirts of the village.

The whole village is dotted with such sacred spots which are kept apart from the natural setting of the surrounding ecosystem by means of some normative meanings and characteristic markings guided by their myths, values, and beliefs and so on. These village deities are worshiped more or less in the same manner as their traditional deities. Sometimes a few of them are offered votive terracotta images of horses and elephants figures.

The Terracotta Horses

The Terracotta Horses - Photo Credit: 23dingenvoormusea @ flickr under CC license.

Terracotta horses are offered to deities on different occasions, may it be an annual pacifying or contingent upon the desire of the village or their community. The Local tribesmen look upon the courtesy of their gods for all simple and complex problems and give terracotta horses throughout the year. Their size and style is expressive in nature and they tend towards changeless in style.

In Tamil Nadu, terracotta is purchased ceremoniously. While bringing it from the potter's house, the tribesmen take them to the temple singing folk songs in praise of glory of gods. Super naturalism has sufficient influence in the village religious beliefs and thinking. Each piece is supposed to have a life or a spirit which is either benevolent or malevolent to which daily occurrences can be traced, and each spirit thus has to be worshiped and pacified in many ways.

In the hierarchy of supernatural, first came the sun and the moon as the nature gods, then the tutelary gods and finally the spirits and village community heroes, ancestors etc. These spirits are sanctified and pacified. In the sprawling regions of Tamil Nadu, potters making terracotta are widely dispersed. It is not necessary to have a potter in every village or potters may not engage in producing terracotta pottery figures at all.

In villages, where terracotta produced, distribution takes places all around it. Prospective buyers from nearby villages approach to obtain desired objects. Some of the villages are dominated by potters.

Road Side Terracotta Horses - Vid

Other Tamil Nadu Related Pages:

Tags

God And Goddesses, Hindu, Hinduism, Sukkran, Tamil, Tamil Nadu, Temples, Terracotta Horses

Meet the author

author avatar sukkran
I am sukkran aka sukkran trichy, from Trichy, India. I am an online writer, blogger, writing for many publishing platforms.

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
8th Sep 2013 (#)

I always think of terracotta horses as being in China, not a recent India festival. Very cool and fun!

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author avatar sukkran
9th Sep 2013 (#)

thanks mark, for the star and a nice comment.

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author avatar M G Singh
8th Sep 2013 (#)

Lovely post. Terracotta horses are also available in Orissa

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author avatar sukkran
9th Sep 2013 (#)

you can see them all over south asian countries, china and some african countries. thanks for the visit. have a nice day.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
9th Sep 2013 (#)

Thank you for sharing this note, so far I am very immsersed in Indian history and culture! Kudos

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author avatar sukkran
9th Sep 2013 (#)

appreciate your visit and comment fern.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
9th Sep 2013 (#)

incredible as so many of your fascinating pages sukkran...thank you....

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author avatar sukkran
9th Sep 2013 (#)

thank you carolina. appreciate your support.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
9th Sep 2013 (#)

so very true sukkran they are amazing!

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author avatar Trillionaire
11th Sep 2013 (#)

Nice post.

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author avatar deepa venkitesh
12th Sep 2013 (#)

nice to read this, I do remember seeing this when small

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author avatar sukkran
12th Sep 2013 (#)

thanks for your visit and comment.

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author avatar Evelyne
19th Nov 2018 (#)

I am a French potter and I visited Tamil Nadu a few times.
I would love to see these horses ; I'll be in Keral and Tamil nadu next march . Where exactly can I find them ( Which village? near which town ?) Thank you

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