The province of Punjab is the land of art, culture, heritage, civilization, history and various innovative skills that the people of this fertile zone are blessed with. When we talk about ceramic art of Pakistan, Multan is the most worth mentioning area and
is cultural, historic and artistic city of Punjab. The history of ceramic art in Multan is as old as the history of this city, in 1853, during an excavation on Qillah Kohna Qasim Bagh, Alexander Cunningham a famous British archeologist of his time, found glazed tiles which were made in 900 A. It was a remarkable discovery by Alexander; since it gave evidence that the tiles were used in a mosque built during the Mohammed Bin Qasim era, when he arrived in Multan.
The ceramic tiles of this area gained popularity with the passage of time and were frequently used in shrines, mosques, and other buildings to give a fascinating look and tribute to the origin of this art. The remarkable example of Multani Ceramic Art is seen in the form of Talpur Tombs, Shrine of Uchh Sharif in Cholistan, Mosque Nawaban and Shrine of Shah Yousaf Qadri (1153). Other classic and finest pieces of art created with Multani Ceramic Art are found in Shrines of Sachal Sarmast, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, Eidgah Multan, Lahore Museum and even some artistic work are displayed in London Museum to represent the rich ceramic art of Pakistan.
The centuries old art and craft tradition is also known as Multani pottery, Blue Pottery or Multani Kashi. The blue pottery is very famous and a center of attraction for the interior designers, therefore it is proudly displayed and used for the interior of important buildings like, President house, Prime Minister Secretariat, Culture Mission of Pakistan and Pakistan embassy.
The artistic and unique blue color is a combination of cobalt oxide and copper oxide. The basic steps of this great pottery work are grinding, kneading, filtration, molding, raw material baking at a temperature of 800 degrees this is done with the help of machines and technology as compare to wood and dung cake fire which was used in the early ages of this art. The extensive use of blue color and texture of trees and branches shoes a touch of Persian culture in the kashi art. It has also been observed that Persian art and culture was influenced by Chinese are, hence some archeologists and researchers concluded that kashi work is basically inspiration and originated from kashghar, China.
This significant art is transferred carefully from one generation to the other and only revolves around few families, inheriting these skills from their ancestors. This is the reason that even centuries have passed but the purity, harmony, perfection and creativity is maintained and is not affected by the modernization of society, it takes the viewer of this art to the historical era.
Tourists and admirers of handicrafts likes to buy table lamps, vessels, vases, cookie jars, show pieces and souvenirs made with bamboo shoot and kashi work. For the blue pottery or Kashi work special clay is procured from Gujarat, Tharparkar, and Mansehra and is used after formulation and refining to get perfect color and design.
The Blue Pottery, kashi Pottery or Multani kashi work is praised and acknowledge globally, artist Muhammad Alam and his son took the initiative of introducing this novel work done by Pakistani craftsman and craftswomen, in world crafts council which works under SAARC, a well known international organization.