Ideqqi: Pottery Made by Kabyle Women

Journal / Conference: Journal of Ethnology
Authors: Author: B. Půtová
Year: 2013
Number: 3
Category of Publication: Map(s) in Publication
Pages, web: s. 159–168 (s. 159)
Keywords: Kabyle people; pottery; women; manufacture; clay
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Abstract: This study deals with Kabyle pottery representing traditional Berber craftsmanship and artwork that has been developing for centuries in the territory of modern-day Algeria. The study focuses on Kabyle pottery, perceived as a specific set of artefacts, and on its manufacturers − Kabyle women. The manufacture of Kabyle pottery is artisan handwork, tabooed in many ways; it has been passed on from mother to daughter. Women have learnt know-how and practical skills concerning pottery manufacture through oral tradition and everyday experience. Kabyle pottery shows a specific feminine style, uncovering thus the Kabyle women’s mentality and their secret knowledge hidden in traditional society. The study describes and analyses phases of Kabyle pottery manufacture, its typology and motifs, which are presented as an independent semiotic system. The origin of Kabyle pottery still remains in a shroud of mystery. On the one hand, Kabyle pottery exhibits traits of autochthonous culture; on the other hand, it has also absorbed some foreign cultural influences. At present, Kabyle tribes strengthen their cultural identity and return to their cultural roots through the production of traditional Kabyle pottery. Moreover, motifs of Kabyle pottery inspire contemporary artists. This study further aims to describe, analyse and interpret Kabyle pottery as a unique demonstration of Berber culture which is an inseparable part of the Kabyle women’s world.
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