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African Crafts and Arts | Tunisian Handmade carpets, ceramics and wood

Carpets and rugs

TUNISIAN CARPETS are mainly produced in Kairouan and Jerid, there are two basic types, those that are knotted and those that are woven. The knotted variety cost more and have up to 160,000 knots per square metre. Most of the designs tend to be based on a central diamond shape that is thought to derive from the lamp in the Great Mosque in Kairouan. Knotted carpets come in two main types : Alloucha and Zarbia. Zarbia carpets use red, green and blue while the Alloucha carpets are produced in beige, brown and white.Woven or Mergoum carpets are cheaper to buy and have Berber origins.

Ceramics creations

THE TWO MAIN centers of ceramics in Tunisia are Nabeul on the Cap Bon Peninsula and Guellala on the island of Jerba. Nabeul is known for its brightly colored, glazed pottery. Much of this is produced solely for visitors and it can be very good quality.

The inhabitants of Guellala cater more for the home market, their workshops offer every type of utility ware; from items used for cooling water and storing food, to enamelled products and AliBaba jars.

The northern town of Sejnane and some of the surrounding villages are famous for a primitive Berber pottery that still employs techniques used in Neolithic times. All three styles are available throughout Tunisia.



POPULAR WOODEN items on sale in Tunisia include salad bowls and containers for salad dressing, and wooden dolls dressed in colorful clothes. While strolling through the streets of Medinas or exploring a market it is worth stepping into a carpenters workshop to see how they make cup boards, trunks and traditional Tunisian doors.The material used in the north of the country is mainly olive-tree wood suitable for making bowls and oil containers. In the south, palm wood is the most popular material.