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

  • VE Ali

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.
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eISSN: 0855-4412
print ISSN: 0855-4412