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Moya folk pottery from the native tradition
Moya, folk pottery from the native tradition
Francisco Romero Roque. Historia. 1 Edición. 2010. cartoné. 20x18 cm. 58 p. ISBN: 978-84-938500-8-1
The Canary Islands have long harbored a certain mystery that has endured into our time. This chain of islands has carried on a link to the ancient Greco-Roman mythology, echoed in its mythical Atlantic geography and in the imagination of many of its inhabitants.
Although vying for the honor with other corners of the globe, the Canary Islands have always been considered one of those legendary territories, featured in ancient Greek literature, mythology alongside that fabled lost Atlantis or other places in Hellenic imagination.
Countless authors have claimed to find in these islands, the very place where Plato located the remote lost continent of Atlantis. Likewise, in The Odyssey, the Greek bard Homer speaks of Champs Elysees, a place of delight that the gods reserve for the hero Menelaus and many have located this in the Canary Archipelago.
Similarly, the poet Hesiod in his Theogony, describes the "Garden of the Hesperides" and may refer to the Canaries when describing its location beyond “the other side of the famous ocean." Many authors have taken this to be a clear reference to the Atlantic and the Canary Islands. In his book, Works and Days, this same author writes of the mythic “Fortunate Isles", a place where the souls of the blessed would dwell, "to the ends of the earth ...next to the deep ocean current... "The Romans also called these islands lucky and blessed, from around the first century AD.
In addition to being a source of inspiration for writers, poets, historians and sailors, these volcanic islands of lava and gases arising from the depths of the ocean crust, were colonized some 2,500 years ago by settlers from North Africa. In the case of the island of Gran Canaria, occupied by the "Canary” tribe who originated in the Atlas Mountains of what is today Morocco. One of the earliest written references in which mention is made of this correlation is offered by the Roman general C. Suetonius Paulinus in the year 42 AD. Furthermore, the historian Abreu y Galindo, in his Chronicles of the Spanish Conquest (II, 1, 30, 1977:147), alludes to this relationship:
"At the foot of Mount Atlas, in Africa, there are people who call the natives of that region Canary Islanders, and those people may have been the first to discover this island and upon seeing the land, called it Canary Island.”
Numerous researchers have supported this thesis. In this regard, noteworthy work has been carried out by Jose Juan Jimenez Gonzalez, curator of Tenerife's Archaeological Museum with a PhD in ancient history from La Laguna University. His research has produced books such as The Canary Islanders, a Berber tribe of the Great Atlas and The Canary Islanders. Ethno-history and Archeology.
These arriving people brought the cultural background of their home villages to the islands, adapting to the new territory over time. Their method of making pottery was one of those traditions exported to their new home in the islands. In the aboriginal pottery, as well as the folk Canary ceramics of today, there are similarities linked to the Maghreb, especially among the Berber population.
As in the pre-Hispanic Canary Islands, Berber potters' work was and still is today, largely confined to women. Thus, the latest Berber potters in the region of the Rif work true to their ancient techniques, shaping each piece by hand without a wheel, and cooking them on open ground.
This is unquestionably the same pottery technique as those used in pre-Hispanic times and similar to the current production methods carried out throughout the entire Maghreb. There two-chamber furnaces are used in some places, while in others the dishes are cooked in a single cavity hollowed in the gro, just as the ancient aboriginals carried out this process. These caverns are created by digging a hole in the ground, as stated in the ethno-historic sources for Gran Canaria, half-buried parts or outdoors with protection from branches or small walls.
In his research studies of the prestigious Punic ceramics, professor Pierre Cintas asserts that "the pieces made today for daily domestic use [in the Maghreb] are those that were made in the Punic period." Cintas notes that the pieces which bear the strongest resemblance include pots, plates, crocks, toasters and water containers. The pieces produced in the Atlas are extremely similar to those in the Canary Islands.
This publication briefly considers the world of traditional Canary pottery, its origins, the preparation process and background in the town of Moya. It is also our desire to keep alive a tradition that is part of our cultural legacy, a hallmark of our culture that we should not lose.
Thus we present this work, with the sole purpose of sharing our research and protecting this ancient handicraft. If this modest publication achieves our goal, raising awareness of the importance of its survival, revaluing it, we will be pleased to have been involved in a noble enterprise. We hope our reader will enjoy this publication and once learning of this craft, appreciate the importance of keeping our traditions alive.
1. INTRODUCTION, 7
2. MOYA, GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY, 11
3. TRADITIONAL NATIVE POTTERY, 19
4. BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE TRADITIONAL NATIVE CANARY ISLAND POTTERY IN THE TOWN OF MOYA, 25
5. THE POTTERY CREATION PROCESS, 33
6. SOME OF THE MOST COMMON TRADITIONAL CANARY CERAMIC PIECES USED IN MOYA, 41
7. WORK MATERIALS AND TOOLS, 47
8. GLOSSARY, 50
9. BIBLIOGRAPHY, 51
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