Cultural Heritage and Traditions
» Crafts
The handwheel-thrown pottery with calcite added to the clay which continues to be produced in Bosnia-Herzegovina today is the continuation of an ancient European tradition that became extinct elsewhere several centuries ago. Specific shapes evolved to cook particular dishes, such as Bosanski Lonac, the well-known stew. That the pottery continues to be popular and widely-used can be attributed to the superior culinary qualities and durability of the pots. In Miljenko Jergovic’s story “Bosanski Lonac”, Zlaja, a Bosnian refugee living in Zagreb decides to prepare the traditional dish, but, he tells his girlfriend, “he couldn’t possibly make such a dish in any of those teeny-weeny pots that will still bear the legend ‘Made in Yugoslavia’ a hundred years from now. To prepare a Bosnian hotpot you have to use a clay pot of a sort that obviously doesn’t exist in the overtly Westernized city of Zagreb. The kind of pot Zlaja was talking about wasn’t even on sale in Sarajevo, but you’d find one in every Bosnian household just the same.”* The second link, to a web site featuring Bosnian traditional cooking, shows the type of pot used for Bosanski Lonac.

Traditional potters using coarse pastes and bonfire firing can still be found working in Malesici, Pulac, Ularica and Brezovo Kosa, near Gracanica, Travnik, Doboj and Cazin respectively. At Ljesevo,near Visoko, a different but related tradition survives, producing kiln-fired decorated fine-wares and cooking pots in sandy fabrics.

* From “Sarajevo Marlboro”, by Mijenko Jergovic, Penguin Books, London, 1997

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