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Tue 4 Dec 2018 10:53 AM

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In pictures: Dying ancient Iraqi handmade pottery culture

Pottery has deep roots in Iraq, where ancient civilisations turned to clay to build their homes, shape their cooking utensils, and even make their ovens. Cuneiform, one of the earliest forms of writing invented by the Sumerians, was also carved into clay tablets. But now, with a flood of more modern products, demand for the handmade clay items has dried up.

In pictures: Dying ancient Iraqi handmade pottery culture
Pottery has deep roots in Iraq, where ancient civilisations turned to clay to build their homes, shape their cooking utensils, and even make their ovens.
In pictures: Dying ancient Iraqi handmade pottery culture
With a flood of more modern products, demand for the handmade clay items has dried up.
In pictures: Dying ancient Iraqi handmade pottery culture
From selling thousands per week across every Iraqi province these days they struggle sell 200 across a whole year, says potter Adel al-Kawwaz.
In pictures: Dying ancient Iraqi handmade pottery culture
There are fewer and fewer craftsmen capable of making clay pots in the traditional way.
In pictures: Dying ancient Iraqi handmade pottery culture
Small jugs cost just 2,500 dinars or around $2, while the larger cauldrons that hold several dozen litres (gallons) are sold at 15,000 dinars.
In pictures: Dying ancient Iraqi handmade pottery culture
Jugs were shaped from Najaf mud, dried in the shade, then baked at high temperatures for no less than 15 hours.