Cerámica Africana /African Pottery

          Un post rápido para presentarvos un vídeo que atopei en Youtube sobre produción cerámica tradicional en África. Trátase do traballo dun historiador da arte especializado no tema que explora toda a secuencia de manufactura, dende a recollida de arxila ata a cocción. Inda que non é un documento estritamente antropolóxico, creo que merece a pena velo, por curiosidade ou coma un recurso moi interesante sobre o que reflexionar se vos dedicades ós estudos cerámicos (English version below).

          Se non queredes, ou podedes, velo vídeo enteiro vos recomendo que saltedes a dous puntos moi interesantes:

– 0:40:05: Inda que tiña visto con anterioridade outras técnicas de pá e bigornia, xamais tiña visto algo así, có molde interno que hai que extraer mediante cortes.

– 01:01:02: Se es o meu bo amigo Jay Stephens tés que ver esta secuencia de cocción pra ver como non fai falla tres estadios en forno pra que o óxido férrico (Fe2O3) se torne en ferroso (FeO).

          A conclusión máis importante que eu considero se pode sacar deste vídeo é que non hai unha soa e exclusiva forma de facer un pote. Na maioría das ocasións podes obtelo mesmo resultado usando diferentes técnicas, e debemos reflexionar sobre os monolíticos e unilineais modelos cos que traballamos, a lo menos no que a cerámica grega se refire.

          A quick post to introduce you to a video I have found on Youtube about traditional pottery production in Africa. It is the work of an art historian specialised in the topic that explores the whole manufacture sequence, from the quarrying of clay to the firing. Despite it is not exactly an anthropological document, I believe it is worth it to watch it, just for fun or as a very useful resource upon which to reflect if you research on pottery.

If you do not want, or can, watch the whole of it I suggest you to jump to two very interesting points:

– 0:40:05: Although I have seen in the past other paddle and anvil techniques, I never saw something like this, with the inner mould that is removed by a series of cuts.

– 01:01:02: If you are my good friend Jay Stephens you cannot miss the firing sequence to see how you do not need the three stages firing to turn ferric oxide (Fe2O3) into ferrous oxide (FeO).

The most important conclusion you can take out of this video is that there is nit a single exclusive way of making a pot. In most cases you can achieve the same result using different techniques, and we must reflect on the monolithic and unilinear models we work with, at least on Greek pottery studies.

2 thoughts on “Cerámica Africana /African Pottery”

  1. this is super interesting, Emilio! I think I’ll save this to use in future lectures and discussion sections.

    I agree. These potters are using a series of incredibly innovative forming techniques. I particularly liked the way she attached the rim after making the cuts to remove the mold. This would serve to strengthen the body and mitigate any potential cracks that would form in those areas. I think the narrator makes a very good point around 18:00 or so. Too often we think there is a unilinear evolution of pottery technology from low to high fired. But these all serve a purpose to a culture.

    That firing sequence is fascinating! I wonder how added slips and paints would be affected with the water reduction step? Any interest in an experiment?


  2. I am already working on some of these effects for my dissertation, but you know well that (un)fortunately there is still a lot of room for us to work on this issues with regard to the Greek pottery. And of course there is the issue of the Mn to obtain black. It is a pity the author does not give more details on the “water soup”. It would be very nice to know which plants are used.
    I also find the comment of 00:18:00 you mentioned very interesting. The use of the term coarse ware as a second-class/low-quality fabric opposed to the artistic vases is a complete nonsense that illustrates the biases of our field. A cooking pot can be technically very challenging, since nobody wants to pay for something that cracks in the third meal and has a use-life much more exigent than a kotyle.
    With regard to the video I totally agree. It is a fantastic didactic tool. I have a series of them that I will be posting regularly with some comments as I did with this one. There is one of a Japanese potter making chawan that illustrates perfectly the issue of wheelthrown vs. wheelmade.


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