We have come a long way from Mohenjodaro. Take a look at ancient Indian pottery, from as early as 3000 BC and up to present times.
Pre-Harappa pottery was identified within the limits of India first at Sothi, in Rajasthan, located on the bank of the ancient Drasadvati. This fact was firmly established in the later excavations at Kalibangan, also in Rajasthan. Recent finds show that pottery belonging to this period is distributed practically all over north, west and central India. This pottery is generally grouped into six categories described as fabrics A, B, C, D, E and F. Harappa and Mohenjodaro (now in Pakistan) were the first sites where excavations resulted in the discovery of a highly developed culture that existed nearly five thousand years ago. Extensive excavations have been and are still being carried out in India by the Archaeological Survey of India. The pottery yields of these excavations have shown that the Harappa culture was as widespread as the Pre-Harappa

culture, the difference being the fact that the Harappan people were highly advanced. Their potters too exhibited a great technical skill, which is evident from the shapes and designs of the pottery of this period. The pottery itself seems to fulfill both a utilitarian and decorative function. Harappa pottery includes Red Ware, Black and Red Ware, Buff Ware and Grey Ware.

Contemporary to the Harappa culture there existed another culture, the distinctiveness of which was based on the presence of an Ochre Coloured Ware (OCW). The OCW pottery has a washed-out look, and is very porous in nature. The potters' craft does not show the advanced development of the Harappa potter.

Late Harappa pottery indicates a significant decline in the cultural development of the Harappa phase. There is pottery making but it does not show any advanced technical skill or new development that was not seen previously. The classification of the pottery of this period is based on its regional spread and influences; and is labelled according to the site it has been found at, rather than its type. Some of these are Kayatha Ware, Prabhas Ware, Malwa Ware, Jorwe Ware and Lustrous Red Ware.

Painted Grey Ware (PGW) is a very fine grey coloured pottery belonging to the Vedic period in India. The pottery is so fine that the walls of the pots are referred to as being eggshell thin in section. The existence of this highly specialised pottery suggests that it might have been made for either a ritualistic purpose or for the royalty. It is evident there were highly skilled and specialised craftsmen for making this type of pottery, as it forms only a part of the excavated pottery, the rest being Red Ware. Pottery resembling PGW has not been found in any earlier period or in any period thereafter.

Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW) is a black pottery, the surface of which is strikingly lustrous in nature. About ninety percent of the pottery is jet black, brownish black or bluish black. The remaining is either steel blue, chocolate brown, deep red or golden. NBPW has been located at nearly four hundred and fifteen sites all over India, which shows it had a much larger spread than the Harappa pottery.

The pottery towards the end of the first millenium BC and the beginning of the first millenium AD has been typecast according to its appearance. A large amount of this pottery has been found in South India, where originally it was thought to have been of foreign origin. However it is now believed that because of its quantity, spread and indigenous shapes, only the influence on the techniques and design may have been imported. Prominent among these pottery types are Rang Mahal Pottery, Russet Coated Painted Ware, Rouletted Ware, Red Polished Ware and Stamped Pottery.

Throughout the period mentioned above and till around the tenth century AD, Red Ware has remained the predominant ware. Today also the rural craftsman is working with terracotta, and Red Ware is an important part of every Indian's life.