The Ceramics of Ráquira, Colombia
Gender, Work, and Economic ChangeeBook - 1998
"An impressive work. It is an exhaustive study of all aspects of pottery making. . . . Its discussion of the technical and economic aspects is noteworthy and thorough [and] its treatment of the cultural and gender context is superb."--Miles Richardson, Louisiana State University
Ronald Duncan explores the ways that male gender power combined with capitalism to bring about sweeping economic changes and the transformation of a centuries-old tradition of women's ceramics in the Andes.
In the village of Ráquira, Colombia, two pottery-making styles coexist: while devoting time to domestic tasks, women make traditional cooking pots and water jugs in the same style and with the same hand-working techniques they've used since before the time of Columbus; in contrast, men--working full-time in shops established in the last 50 years--mass-produce planters and other ware, using molds and potter's wheels in a style of primarily Spanish origin. Throughout the community, men control capital and have greater mobility in marketing their products; many women have become assistants to their husbands. Along with discussion of this contrast between cultures, the book raises the issue of whether indigenous pottery in Ráquira--highly prized by collectors--will completely disappear in the next century.
Filling a gap in village ethnography, this is the first major publication in English on the traditional ceramics of Colombia. It offers both a history of the craft, illustrated with 40 photographs, and a compelling discussion of how individuals, families, and communities respond to historical, economic, and personal change.
Ronald J. Duncan is professor of anthropology at Oklahoma Baptist University. He is the coauthor of The Art of Shamanism, Health and Life: Tumaco/La Tolita and has written extensively in Spanish on ethnicity and social change.