20. Late Ottoman/Mandate and Recent Wheel-thrown Ceramics
Gloria London [+]
Wheel-thrown pottery made in small workshops of family potters persisted into the 21st century for three reasons: low cost, functionality, and nostalgia. Pots made in Rashia al-Fukhar, Jaba‘, Hebron, Gaza, Nazareth, Kerami, Zizia, and Jerusalem were relatively inexpensive because they were made from raw materials that were free for the taking. People profess a fondness for water stored in clay pots and foods cooked in clay pots. Clay jars and jugs keep water cool and filter bitter minerals. Jugs and jars were traditional refrigerators and water filters that operate without electricity or a generator. When they stop working, they were inexpensive to replace. One young Cypriot man came to Kornos village in 1986 looking for a cooking pot. A lengthy discussion with the potters developed because he was not interested in the four types of cooking pots they offered. He remembered a different shape. It was his hope that with the right cooking pot, his Australian wife could replicate the taste of foods made by his mother. The shift of certain larger traditional jars, ovens, beehives, and goat-milking pots from kitchens into gardens or cemeteries and from functional to decorative pieces has preserved the traditional industry into the 21st century. In Jordan as in Cyprus, people can acquire the full range of modern appliances made in factories. Nevertheless, there is a place for old-fashioned clay pots that remind us of home, our youth, and family. No pots fill this need better than clay cookware and water jugs. When the older generation is asked why traditional pottery remains in demand, invariably people give two reasons: the food tastes better when made the old-fashioned way, and everyone wants children and grandchildren to experience food that tastes good.