Burnished

Zulu Ceramics between Rural and Urban South Africa

by Elizabeth Perrill

Published by: Indiana University Press

304 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.00 in, 90 color illus., 2 b&w tables

This book can be purchased from this website 60 days before the publish date

  • Paperback
  • 9780253061874
  • Published: June 2022

$30.00

This book can be purchased from this website 60 days before the publish date

  • eBook
  • 9780253061881
  • Published: June 2022

$29.99

This book can be purchased from this website 60 days before the publish date

  • Hardcover
  • 9780253061867
  • Published: June 2022

$80.00

When Zulu women potters innovate or move to a more urban setting, they are asked why they have abandoned tradition. Yet when they continue to follow convention or choose to stay in rural areas, art historians speak of their work as unchanging symbols of the past. Burnished rejects both stereotypes, giving agency back to the artists.

Featuring 90 beautiful color images, Burnished engages directly with specific vessels and artists and fractures assumptions that Zulu ceramicists are insulated from rural transformation and urban realities. Elizabeth Perrill shares the fascinating stories of women potters and the ceramic beer pots they create—their aesthetics, audiences, production, and artistic lives. Simultaneously, Perrill documents the manner in which ceramic arts, and at times the artists themselves, capitalize upon bucolic stereotypes of rural womanhood, are constrained by artistic methods, or chafe against definitions of what qualifies as a Zulu pot.

By revealing how White South Africa and global art gatekeepers have continually twisted the designation of Zulu ceramics before, during, and after apartheid, Burnished provides an engaging look at the entrepreneurial artistry of Black women who are often erased from historical records.