Pottery: A traditional craft that has stood the test of time
المنتجات الفخارية مصدر جذب سياحي بالمملكة
22 FEB 2020
Source: Nadeen Al-Wazani
The art of pottery is one of the oldest handicraft skills that have been passed down from generation to generation in Jeddah, Jazan and Al-Ahsa since the ancient times. There are many famous examples of pottery work in the historical Jeddah areas, especially the walls of the Al-Bukhari and Al-Sabeel districts, Alyamani traditional market and the decorations of the historic Khozam Palace.
Pottery products are still popular in some traditional markets. Pottery factories also attract many tourists. Visitors should consider making a trip to an Al-Ahsa factory belonging to the Al-Gharash family, considered the best example of craftsmen who have preserved the heritage of their ancestors.
Pottery techniques have been used to make household utensils, incense burners, flower pots, baking utensils, decorative mats and cooling water pots of different sizes and colors that were used in the past instead of refrigerators. The latter in particular has a large belly and a small upper opening with a cover to protect water from flying insects. Currently, however, pottery is used for decoration and storage purposes only.
Pottery is considered a fine art that requires well-experienced and professional craftsmen. It is the process of expertly forming clay into various shapes and then baking these creations in kilns in order to solidify them. Once baked, the pottery pieces go through a finishing process in order to increase their quality further. There are three ways in which pottery can be made – forming each piece by hand, pouring dough on ready-made molds, or putting the dough on a spinning wheel.
Types of clay used
The types of clay used vary according to region. The most important source of rocks and sand used to make clay is in the mountains, especially those in the Eastern Province. The degree of quality varies from region to region. There is “primary clay” extracted from the decomposition of rocks and “secondary clay” known as sedimentary clay. The clay used in Al-Ahsa is available in three colors – yellow, green and red – which are then mixed and filtered to form a paste.