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  • 0291.0015 (Source: https://oldfilm.org/collection/Detail/occurrences/10371)

Date produced: 1938


Adelaide Pearson




640 ft.





Sound Notes:



Film on Puri leper potters and their methods. Japan. Calcutta. Pegu, Burma; Kuala Lumpur, Bienhoa, French Indochina; Annam.


The film was transferred from Northeast Historic Film to the Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Northeast Historic Film retains a reference copy.


  • Amristar, India (Filming)
  • Delhi, India (Filming)
  • Varanasi, India (Filming)
  • Uttar Pradesh, India (Filming)





Pearson, Adelaide Collection. Northeast Historic Film.
Blue Hill Public Library Collection

Viewing Notes:

Title card: 'Our First Hindu Potter Note how he turns his wheel. The only potter we saw who tooled the bottom of his piece.' A potter using a potter’s wheel to make a pot out of clay. He holds up the finished product. Intertitle: 'Marketing the pots Pottery bazaar, Amritzar.' Market stalls selling pottery. Intertitle: 'Potters working in the open as we found them everywhere. Without weighing or measuring, all the posts come out the same size.' Potter working on a street corner, surrounded by shoppers and other market stalls selling pottery. Intertitle: 'A veiled woman shopping in the potters’ bazaar.' A woman in a full veil (burqa) walking through the bazaar. A potter uses a stick to get the potter’s wheel up to speed. Then he throws a pot and adds it to a line of identical pots. Intertitle: 'This potter is making little rice bowls used only once and then thrown away.' A potter working while other people watch. Intertitle: 'Miss Paddock judging the workmanship of the ware.' Miss Paddock examining the pots at a market stall. Intertitle: 'Misti, the Delhi potter, is using a Kick-Wheel the weighted lower wheel being in a pit so Misti can squat in the attitude Asiatics find so comfortable.' A man making pots with a kick-wheel. Intertitle: 'With a mill similar to all native grain mills this woman grinding the raw cobalt ore which is the principal coloring matter of Indian glazes.' A woman hand grinding ore. Intertitle: 'Posed picture of an Indian potter glazing.' A man painting glaze onto a pot while children sit around him. Intertitle: “The Delhi Pottery Works” directed by Sadar Gurcharan Singh. Here Misti does all the throwing.' Men working clay. Misti throwing pots. Intertitle: 'Village potter turning out goods for market. Near Benares.' (Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh) Potter throwing pots on a wheel, surrounded by finished pots. Intertitle: 'A KILN To fire these very thin little bowls they are packed in straw and manure, covered with earth and when the fire burns out they’re done.' Potters dusting off a pile of finished pots. Intertitle: 'Making little banks is a fussier job than the bowls. When leather-dry the wife cuts the coin-slots.' A man making a coin bank on a potter’s wheel. Intertitle: 'Preparing clay – he “sticks in his thumb” etc.' A man kneads clay while another throws a pot on the wheel. [End of Reel] Title card: 'The leper potter of Puri. Large pots are thrown without bottoms then batted over a stone till thin, well-shaped and decorated.' A man pats a bottom-less pot into shape with a paddle. Intertitle: 'Puri Kiln Large pots need more firing so these well-built Kilns are used. The walls are insulated by being built of pots, the interstices filled in with clay.' Intertitle: 'The pots are piled in, covered with fuel and earth, fresh fuel is fed into the door until pots are done.' A group of people stand beside a kiln. Shot of a different kiln. Intertitle: 'The pottery village.' Scenes of the village. Intertitle: 'Carrying the pots to market.' A man carries a large basket full of pots on his head. Intertitle: 'Calcutta potters modeling groups of figures. These are sun-dried, painted brilliantly and sold to the pious Hindu. After proper services the figures are taken in procession and thrown into the sacred river Ganges.' A man works on several headless clay figures. Several people working on clay figures of various sizes. Intertitle: 'This potter goes around her pot instead of turning it. In spite of this curious technic her family supplied the village – Pegu, Burma – with good pots.' (Bago, Myanmar) A woman throwing a pot. Intertitle: 'Chinese potter near Kuala Lumpur, Federated Malay States. (Now the capital of Malaysia) Note how he turns his wheel.' A man throws a small pot, spinning the wheel with his foot. Intertitle: 'Government Pottery School, Bienhoa, French Indo-China.' (Present day Biên Hòa, Vietnam) A man throws a pot while another man spins the wheel with his foot. A different potter in a fedora. Potters painting large pots. Intertitle: 'Pottery in Annam run by women. They are making dishes for selling condiments – and losing not time over the job.' (Annam is a colonial term for Vietnam/a region of central Vietnam) A woman throws a pot while another kicks the wheel. A child laying out clay dishes. Several women throwing pots while another kicks the wheel. A man mixing clay. Close up of woman throwing dishes on a wheel. Intertitle: 'Japanese potter near Tokio – Kenkichi Tomimoto, head of the government pottery schools, teacher and colleague of the English Bernard Leach and the Indian Gurcharan Singh.' (Tokyo, Japan) Kenkichi Tomimoto kneading clay and throwing a pot on a wheel. Kenkichi Tomimoto painting a bowl. [End of Reel]