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  • traditional handicraft
  • pottery & stone
  • decorative items

Rachaya el Fokhar, Hasbaya district

At 73 years old, Adib al-Gharib is one of two potters left in the village of Rachaya el Fokhar, famous for its clayware. Adib’s father and grandfather were master potters, a profession to which he was drawn to from a young age. He has been making pottery for more than 55 years. In Adib’s words, “the potter is the god and master of his own work,” explaining why he was attracted to his forefather’s profession. Clayware has several advantages over glass or plastic, he says, as it is environmentally friendly, nontoxic and naturally keeps water cool. Adib al-Gharib starts by collecting clay-rich earth from the land near the village. The mineral makeup is unique and renders a strong final product when fired. Today, his most popular designs are traditional spouted water jugs, water pipe heads, ashtrays and egg plates. Other designs, such as clay amphorae used for transporting water, have fallen out of style. Archaeological evidence, including potshards, indicates that Rashaya al-Foukhar has been producing pottery for thousands of years. Rashaya al-Foukhar’s pottery is unique, from the clay itself to the natural paint used only by village potters. Twice, initiatives have been started in the village to keep the tradition alive, but they “don’t have enough equipment,” and the projects did not last.