Museum Collection Embroidery Clay Shop News
  History Process Cacheiro’s Clay "Potes de Roça" Vídeo

The Cacheiro case
Cacheiro is a small place located in the municipality of Nisa, somewhat isolated and depopulated. Its pottery pieces present distinct characteristics from the remaining Nisa pottery: totally made from red clay, the kind of stone used in its decoration is always “thick” and the piece morphology is usually rougher and more bulgy.


An explanation for the characteristics of this pottery tradition can be found precisely in the geological, social and economic settings of Cacheiro. While Nisa was, for many decades in the twentieth century, a main stopping point for anyone travelling from Lisbon to the Beira Interior region, and vice-versa, which attracted a large number of visitors, Cacheiro remained quietly isolated (it’s located 8 kms outside the municipality) on the outskirts of this invasion. Due to this fact, Nisa benefited from a a new commercial circuit made of customers looking for handicraft pottery pieces for decorative purposes, enraptured in symbolic and aesthetic value (souvenir), which led to changes in the production process and the morphology of the pieces. In Cacheiro, though, a kind of traditional demand subsided, mainly associated to the utilitary nature of the objects.

Being so, Nisa started producing pieces in black and white clay, to satisfy this new kind of demand and the correspondent increase in production. This paved way for a much softer dough (thus easier to handle), but also stronger, to subtler motifs, encrusted with stones “of 1st” and “2nd”, and innovative morphologies (miniatures, plates, platters, animal replicas, ashtrays, large vases and other pieces, specially ordered, some even with specific inscriptions).

In Cacheiro, pottery continued to be produced in red clay, with thick stones and traditional formats, usually rougher and bulgy. The pieces were used to preserve and cool down water, not just at home, but also in case of transportation. The local population, essentially rural, bought water-jars to keep water fresh at home, but also water bottles, gourds or what is locally called “barril de ganhão” (meaning labourer’s barrel) to take with them to the agricultural fields. At the same time the travelers in the Beira Baixa Railway Line - Master José Lopes and his son, both Cacheiro residents, regularly sold in the Fratel and Vila Velha de Ródão train stations -  often bought simple bottles, just to stave off their thirst during the trips, being really common in those times to see them floating in the Tejo river.


© 2009 Câmara Municipal de Nisa