Professor Miriam Horne
Jordan’s Cultural Mosaic
26 April 2017
Samira: the Woman with Ceramic Skill
The woman pictured above appears to be a ceramic artisan. For the purpose of shortening that introduction, we shall refer to her as Samira (a common Jordanian name) from here on out.
My first glaring question was if this was a hobby of Samira’s or if it was her profession. After a class discussion on the Jordanian economy, it became more likely that she was producing these ceramics for the market. Jordan has a large under the table economy and many people produce items like this to be sold at open-air markets. These often untaxed markets are hugely important to many of the newer residents and refugees as they are likely to have a trade and it is nearly impossible for new residents to get jobs.
Furthermore, In support of the argument that Samira is a ceramics vendor one can see the multitude of pieces she has on the shelves behind her. She either has a huge amount of time on her hands, or it is a source of income for the middle-aged woman.
Finally, the most telling piece of evidence that supports the hypothesis that this is her profession is the mug all the way to the left on the top right shelf. It has a hand with a glove on it, the hand is holding a falcon which is a sign of the Bedouin. In class, we learned that Bedouin are very often artisans that capitalize on these markets. Furthermore, falconry was one of the methods for Bedouin people to get the most out of their incredibly harsh arid environment.
All things considered, my instinct is that this woman belongs to the lower middle class/lower class. She capitalizes on her ancient heritage and knowledge to make Bedouin ceramic pieces that she then sells in the market either to support herself or her family.