Berber ceramics


Therefore, pottery products from the Rif area are often referred to as Berber ceramics. The methods used to make and decorate the pottery suggest ancient traditions. Pots, crocks and trays were originally made for private use only. As there may be shortage of water in North-Africa and since not every household has a water tap, water crocks are used to carry water home from springs. Crocks are also for keeping water or for pouring it out.

Made by women

Ceramics are mostly made by the women. They make the kitchen utensils for private use. The women decorate the pots with natural paint from plants, such as henna. Widows often specialize in making special ceramics to be sold on regional markets. This could mean that crocks and pots from the entire region find their way to private households, causing the styles and origins of pottery to vary widely.

Without a wheel

The pots and crocks are made without a potter’s wheel. The wall thickness is determined with a wooden spatula and a piece of leather is used for polishing the outer walls. After that, the pot is dried, possibly painted and burnt in a pit. Ovens are seldom used. The temperature remains low, causing the Berber ceramics to remain brittle and crumbly. Characteristic of Berber ceramics are the geometric patterns. These patterns are believed to have their origins in prehistoric cultures of the Mediterranean Sea.

Berber ceramics are on show in the museum's permanent exhibition One Planet.

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