Did you ever wonder why using clay pots has never gotten out of fashion in Oman?
True, more modern families have long seized to use clay pots for storing water or as food containers but this earthenware has transcended its day to day use and has become important decorative piece not only for homes but even hotels and important architectures all over the country.
For many potters in Nizwa, pottery is a craft that allows them to express themselves and exert their identities. While Bahla may always come to people’s mind as centre for the pottery industry, Nizwa will always trail along exerting its dominance even to this day.
A walk through the city especially in the popular Nizwa souq will provide one a better look at how clay pots are dominating the scene. They hang on sides of buildings, are sold in bulk by shops and are used as storage not only for sweets and delicacies but food and water too.
Other than earning from their sale, potters continue to make pots to this day because of its many different health benefits primary of which is relaxation.
“I love making pots from clay because it enables me to control my thoughts. While spinning the potter’s wheel, I go into a state of relaxation and meditation. Shaping the pot helps me let go of toxic feelings,” Said Al-Ryami, an artisanal potmaker with a shop in Nizwa souq, said.
“There are lots of things that go into the process of pot making. It may look simple and a no-brainer but the process for me is healing. When I feel disappointed or frustrated, there’s nothing more satisfying that letting yourself lose by working on a stubborn mud. When you finally shape it into the shape you want it to have, you would have long forgotten your frustration,” Said added.
In many parts of India, Ayurveda specialists are recommending using pots when cooking because of its porous nature, ability to properly circulate moisture on food being cooked, and the alkaline level it contains.
Indian housewife Riya who shared she always visits Nizwa souq said she always go home buying one or two earthenwares because it keeps her family healthy.
“What I learnt from Ayuverda is that whenever you use pots, it tremendously improves the quality of the food as the porosity of the pot provides natural insulation and causes heat and moisture to properly circulate inside it when cooking. By using pots, you also control the moisture and nutrient loss in your food,” she shared.
In recent studies, researchers noted that even storing water on a clay pot already have lots of health benefits.
Clay pots served as natural cooling springs chilling the water in accordance with the climate. Since clay is alkaline, it also helps maintain the Ph balance in the human body which is said to be acidic in nature.
Water from clay pots, therefore, create a proper pH balance and helps in acidity and gastronomic pains.
For the American Journal of Public Health, they highly encourage people to go into art including pottery as it has significant impact on health healing.
In one of the researches they conducted, investigating the impact of creative art which included pots crafting on people battling chronic illnesses, they found that “art-filled occupational voids, distracted thoughts of illness.”
“Pots are healthy choice to serve water both during summer and even winter and are great alternative to often toxic-laden metal containers,” Dr. Abdulaziz al Kindi, a professor of Nizwa University, said.
He assured that using earthenware may look a little aged but he assured that they ultimately contribute to general wellness.
“It’s not going to go out of fashion at all. Since time immemorial, people are connected to using clay pots. I’m sure it will be here to stay,” he said.
TITASH CHAKRABORTY & OMAIMA AL KINDI