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n Institute of African Studies Research Review - An investigation into the influence of modernity on the traditional pottery industry of the Igbo of Southeastern Nigeria during the colonial and post-colonial eras

Volume 26, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0855-4412
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Abstract

This paper reports on an investigation into the influence of modernity as the possible cause of decline in the traditional pottery industry in Igbo of Southeastern Nigeria during the colonial and post-colonial eras, with particular reference to Afikpo and Ishiagu, which are among the representative pottery centres still making pottery. The study adopted un-structured in-depth interviews involving twenty-seven potters from Ishiagu and fourteen from Afikpo. Altogether, the forty-one potters involved in the interviews were the only surviving potters, some of whom are still making pottery. The study revealed that the emergence of modern pottery products and the introduction of western education have had a devastating influence on the Igbo pottery tradition. The introduction of modern pottery and other related products such as plastics, aluminum, glass, and enamel wares into Nigerian markets affected and still affects the distribution and sale of local pottery products. The situation became rather complex with the introduction of western education, which led to the disappearance of apprentices who used to assist the potters in the production processes and who eventually had to carry on the tradition. Presently, the potters complain that the craft has become too tedious, which has led to its abandonment by some of them for other professions. The study also revealed other factors of decline in traditional pottery, which include occupational stigmatization, traditional belief systems and the deaths of renowned potters.

Il s'agit dans article de présenter les conclusions d'une enquête menée sur l'influence de la modernité comme la cause éventuelle du déclin de l'industrie de poterie traditionnelle dans la région Igbo au sud-est du Nigeria a époque coloniale et postcoloniale, avec référence particulière a Afikpo et Ishiagu, deux des centres de poterie représentatifs fabriquant encore la poterie. L'étude a opté pour des entretiens détaillés non structurées avec vingt-sept potiers d'Ishiagu et quatorze d'Afikpo. En tout, les quarante-et-un potiers interviewés, dont certains fabriquent toujours de la poterie, étaient les seuls potiers toujours en vie. L'étude a montré que l'émergence des produits de poterie modernes et l'avènement de l'enseignement occidental ont une influence extrêmement dévastatrice sur la poterie traditionnelle Igbo. L'introduction sur les marchés nigérians de la poterie moderne et autres produits afférents comme le plastique, l'aluminium, le verre et des objets émaillés a impacté, et continue d'impacter négativement la distribution et vente des objets de poterie locaux. Aussi a-t-on assisté a la disparition des apprentis potiers, jadis assistants et finalement héritiers des potiers. Selon les potiers actuels, la poterie est devenue trop laborieuse, ce qui pousse certains d'entre eux à l'abandonner en faveur des autres professions. L'étude révèle également d'autres facteurs à la base du déclin de la poterie traditionnelle, dont la stigmatisation professionnelle ou les systèmes de croyance traditionnels ainsi que le décès des potiers renommés.

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/content/inafstud/26/2/EJC46021
2010-01-01
2016-12-10

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