||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).
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.