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Berber Ceramics

Our selection of berber ceramics comes from the edges of the Atlas Mountains between Algeria and Tunisia.

All stages of the pottery-making are performed exclusively by berber women and dates back all the way to the bronze age. The usage of these pottery is intended mainly for domestic purposes such as cooking, food preservation as well as home decoration.

Over thousands of years, little has changed in the creation process as the know how has been transmitted from mother to daughter.

Sadly, this ancestral knowledge is threatened with disappearance as the younger generations are attracted to other activities than pottery making since the process is very labor intensive and hard to make a living from.

The clay is usually extracted, using a manual plow, from wadi (river) beds, and is then cut into blocks, crushed, purified and soaked in water, before being kneaded, shaped, covered in dirt and fired. Once fired, the pots are then decorated with two-tone plant, animalistic and/or geometrical patterns reminiscent of traditional symbols that are inspired from local customs, traditions and daily life.

Only a few hundred women are still making pottery this way, mainly in the village of Sejnane.

In recent years, in order to save and preserve these traditions, UNESCO officially incorporated Sejnane pottery in the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

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