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© Alfons Rodríguez  

  The inhabitants of Walata have samples of their handiwork on show on almost every corner in the city. The incredible decoration of their homes and the traditional clay figures the women sell are the best examples of the artistic wealth they are capable of producing.

We see the decorative calling of the people of Walata on the front of their houses, which are covered with patterns in which white abounds and which are highly suggestive to the eyes of the visitor. It is the women who produce them, with much patience and using the graffito technique. The designs are real abstract filigrees symbolising different aspects of femininity: women's bellies, breasts, etc. There are different interpretations of this work, but this is nevertheless the most widely accepted.

The most often repeated pattern to be found is undoubtedly the tarha, a large circular design consisting of two concentric medallions in which four flowers derived from the lotus are also represented. The tahra and other motifs associated with the façade and the walls are always found on the exterior, while there is a specific decoration for the inside in the form of a wide frieze at the bottom of the wall (red on the white of the wall).

There is more to Walata handicraft than just the decoration of its red walls. Traditionally, the city has been the home of master metal workers for centuries and for a long time it was known for this all over Mauritania. But the situation in Walata today has changed this tradition and now it is pottery that predominates in the city's arts and crafts.

As in the case of the decoration, the women are also responsible for the pottery produced in Walata. When we visit the city we can buy their delicate dolls, the little clay figures of animals and the hand-made miniature reproductions of the houses and tools of Walata. These are made without a wheel and cooked at low temperatures, which makes them extremely beautiful but very fragile. And we must not forget Walata's pretty pearls, made with a colourful glass paste and produced today by a single craftswoman in the city.



If you would like more information before travelling to Walata, write to us
Project undertaken by: With the collaboration of:
  FNSAV Fundació Solidaritat UB              
With the support of:
Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional
Generalitat de Catalunya                                  Ajuntament de Sant Feliu de Llobregat
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Esta obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons.