Pottery in the Indian subcontinent has an ancient history and is one of the most tangible and iconic elements of Indian art. Evidence of pottery has been found in the early settlements of Lahuradewa and later the Indus Valley Civilization. Today, it is a cultural art that is still practiced extensively in Indian subcontinent. Until recent times all Indian pottery has been earthenware, including terracotta.

Early glazed cermaics were used for making beads, seals, bangles during Neolithic period but these glazes were very rarely used on pottery.[1] Hindu traditions historically discouraged the use of pottery for eating off, while large matki jars for the storage of water or other things form the largest part of traditional Indian pottery, as well as objects such as lamps. Small simple kulhar cups, and also oil lamps, that are disposable after a single use remain common. Today, pottery thrives as an art form in India. Various platforms, including potters’ markets and online pottery boutiques have contributed to this trend.

This article covers pottery vessels, mainly from the ancient Indian cultures known from archaeology. There has also been much figurative sculpture and decorative tilework in ceramics in the subcontinent, with the production of terracotta figurines being widespread in different regions and periods. In Bengal in particular, a lack of stone produced an extensive tradition of architectural sculpture for temples and mosques in terracotta and carved brick. The approximately life-size figures decorating gopurams in South India are usually painted terracotta. Traditional pottery in the subcontinent is usually made by specialized kumhar (Sanskrit: kumbhakära) potter communities.