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The Clay Chronicles: A Moroccan Pottery Odyssey

by nizar ennabil on July 30, 2023

As I walked through Morocco, a recurring charm that caught my attention was the beautifully crafted pottery. These art pieces seemed to capture a blend of artistic currents, dominated by Islamic art - a medley of Arabic inscriptions, floral motifs, and geometric patterns that adorns the pottery of cities such as Fès, Safi, and Salé.

Pottery-making is rooted deep within Moroccan city life. Since the invention of the pottery wheel in the 5th century BC, the crafting techniques have remained largely unchanged. In contrast to the rustic pottery found in rural areas, the ceramics from the cities are always glazed and decorated. Fès, Safi, and Salé are the heart of Moroccan ceramics. What differentiates their pottery is the raw material; each city boasts clay with a unique texture. The discerning eye can even identify the region of origin by the colors and patterns. Not to forget Marrakech, which houses two important pottery hubs - Sidi Amara, with 24 potters and 10 kilns, and Bab Debbagh, boasting 30 potters and 20 kilns.

In my travels, I encountered an interesting custom that truly resonated with me. At the entrance of houses in the Medina, you'll often see large glazed terracotta jars filled with water. These are meant for passersby who might need a drink. It's a tradition inherited from Islamic teachings that consider quenching someone's thirst as an act of virtue. Accompanying these jars are cups, brushed with a bit of tar that gives the water an incomparable freshness and purity.

I share these experiences not just as a shop owner sourcing for Tuyya but as an avid traveller, enchanted by the rich Moroccan tradition. With each pottery piece, you're not just purchasing a product but a part of this timeless journey. Let's appreciate the incredible skill and dedication that goes into every ceramic piece in Tuyya. Discover Morocco, one craft at a time.