Caste of Pot Makers
Here are relevant references from the Books where the Caste of Pot Makers is mentioned.
While not specifically titled a Caste, this group is mentioned along with others that are.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.
I wish you well,
After all, though the Caste of Singers, or Poets, was not a high caste, it had more prestige than, for example, the Caste of Pot-Makers or Saddle-Makers, with which it was sometimes compared. On Gor, the singer, or poet, is regarded as a craftsman who makes strong sayings, much like a pot-maker makes a good pot or a saddle-maker makes a worthy saddle.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Pages 103 - 104
Many are the objects for sale at the fair. I passed among wines and textiles and raw wool, silks, and brocades, copperware and glazed pottery, carpets and tapestries, lumber, furs, hides, salt, arms and arrows, saddles and harness, rings and bracelets and necklaces, belts and sandals, lamps and oils, medicines and meats and grains, animals such as the fierce tarns, Gor's winged mounts, and tharlarions, her domesticated lizards, and long chains of miserable slaves, both male and female.
Priest-Kings of Gor Book 3 Page 12
Hup's rag might once have been of the Caste of Potters, but it was difficult to tell.
Assassin of Gor Book 5 Page 10
I am an admirer of skills, of efficiencies of various sorts. I admire the skill of the leather worker with his needle, that of the potter's strong hands, that of the vintner with his wines, that of warriors with their weapons.
Hunters of Gor Book 8 Page 47
Tor was, as Gorean cities went, a rich, trading city. It was headquarters for thousands of caravan merchants. In it, too, were housed many craftsmen, practicing their industries, carvers, varnishers, table makers, gem cutters, jewelers, carders, dyers of cloth, weavers of rugs, tanners, makers of slippers, toolers of leather, potters, glaziers, makers of cups and kettles, weapon smiths, and many others.
Tribesmen of Gor Book 10 Page 39
I looked into a shop where pottery was being turned. To one side of the wheels, along a wall, sitting among many bowls and vessels, a boy, with his finger, was carefully applying bluish pigment to a large, two-handled pitcher. When the pitcher was placed in the kiln this pigment would be burned, hardened, into the glaze. The kilns were in the back of the shop.
Tribesmen of Gor Book 10 Page 49
High vessels of gold, some as tall as a girl, gleaming dully in the light of the lamps, were passed on our journey through the halls, into the upper rooms, too, great vases of red and yellow porcelain, many of which were as large as a man, imported from the potteries of Tyros.
Tribesmen of Gor Book 10 Pages 209 - 210
I turned down one of the muddy streets, making my way between booths featuring the wares of potters and weavers.
Beasts of Gor Book 12 Page 45
It was quite commonly the case, I had learned, that for a concert by Lysander one could not buy admission at the gate, but must present ostraka purchased earlier in one of the market places or squares. These were apparently originally shells or pieces, shards, of pottery, but now were generally small clay disks, with a hole for a string near one edge. These were fired in a kiln, and glazed on one side. The glazing's colorations and patterns are difficult to duplicate and serve in their way as an authentication for the disk, the glazings differing for different performances or events. The unglazed back of the disk bears the date of the event or performance and a sign indicating the identity of the original vendor, the agent authorized to sell them to the public. Some of these disks, also, on the back, include a seat location. Most seating, however, in Gorean theaters, except for certain privileged sections, usually reserved for high officials or the extremely wealthy, is on a first-come-first-served basis. These ostraka, on their strings, about the necks of their owners, make attractive pendants. Some are worn even long after the performance or event in question, perhaps to let people know that one was fortunate enough to have been the witness of a particular event or performance, or perhaps merely because of their intrinsic aesthetic value. Some people keep them as souvenirs. Others collect them, and buy and sell them, and trade them. If the event or performance is an important one, and the ostraka are limited, their number being governed by the seating capacity of the structure or area in question, it is unlikely that they will be publicly displayed until after the event or performance. It is too easy to snatch them from about the neck in the market place. Too, sometimes rich men have been known to set ruffians on people to obtain them. Needless to say some profiteering occasionally takes place in connection with the ostraka, a fellow buying a few for a given price and then trying to sell them for higher prices later outside, say, the stadium or theater.
Kajira of Gor Book 19 Pages 108 - 109
Where you are, specifically, in the city of Ar is in one of her most crowded and poorest districts, the district of Metellus, and in the Kettle Market, within walking distance of the Peasants' Gate."
"The Kettle Market?"
"Obviously much else is sold here as well," she said.
"Yes, Mistress," said Ellen.
She had seen that there were dozens of stalls in the square, most lining the fronts of buildings, stalls displaying an incredible variety of goods.
There were, of course, the pans, pots, utensils, lamps, pails, and such, which, on shelves and dangling from poles, she supposed might have suggested the name of the market, but there were also stalls, as well, specializing in many other forms of goods, for example, stalls of fruits and vegetables, and produce of various sorts, and sausages and dried meats, and stalls of tunics, cloaks, robes, veils, scarves, and simple cloth, and of leatherwork, belts and wallets, and such, and of footwear, oils, instruments of the bath, cosmetics and perfumes, and mats and coarse rugs, and such. She saw no stall that seemed to specialize in silk, or gold, or silver, or precious stones, or in weaponry, even simple cutlery. It impressed her as a crowded, dirty, low market, presumably frequented primarily by the poor, or by those of the lower castes, individuals who must carefully guard even their smallest coins.
Prize of Gor Book 27 Pages 229 - 230
The shop of the potter, Epicrates, like most Gorean shops, was open to the street during the day and would be closed at night, usually by means of heavy, folded wooden screens, secured with chains or rods. I could see he whom I took to be Epicrates in the back of the shop, who had looked up from his wheel. Shelves lined the walls of the shop, laden with an assemblage of diverse platters, craters, bowls, dishes, pitchers, and vessels. There were several other larger vessels, amphorae, and such, stacked, inverted, in the corners of the shop, and toward its rear. In the back I could also see the portal that, probably, led to the living quarters of Epicrates and his companion.
"Forgive me, Mistress," I said. "I am Phyllis. Forgive my unworthiness, and that I should dare to speak, unaddressed by one who is free, but I am on my master's business."
The large woman was not clad in the robes of concealment, and was not veiled. She wore a work himation, of Cosian cut, with bare arms. Certain Cosian fashions and manners had tended to linger, even following the withdrawal of the occupation forces of the Cosian alliance. More to the point, perhaps, was the utility and comfort of such garments, and their popularity which antedated the troubles in Ar, in particular, the occupation of the Cosian alliance and the tyranny of the false Ubara, Talena, brought to an end by the uprising that restored the current Ubar, a man named Marlenus, to the throne of the city. The whereabouts of Talena were unknown. A reward had been posted for her capture and return to the city, ten thousand gold tarn-disks, of double weight, a sum that might buy cities and fertile, well-harbored islands. It is difficult to move about, and work, of course, in the cumbersome Robes of Concealment. Lower-caste women not unoften reserved such regalia for festivals and holidays.
"And what is your master's business?" demanded the large woman. Her hands were moist from kneading clay. In one corner of the shop there was an oven in which, I supposed, materials might be treated, might be fired and glazed. It was open now, and not in use.
He whom I took to be Epicrates was watching us.
"You know of him, I am sure," I said, as I had been coached, "he is the master potter, Tenrik of Siba, famed throughout the caste of potters, well known from Skjern to Turia. Do you know of him?"
"Of course," said the woman. "Who of the caste of potters does not know of Tenrik of Siba?"
This response alarmed me. I hoped there was not, by some coincidence, a well-known Potter, Tenrik of Siba.
"You are fortunate, girl," she said, "to belong to so famous a fellow."
"Yes," I said, "a slave rejoices."
At this point he whom I took to be Epicrates rose to his feet, as though curious, and came to the front of the shop, where I knelt.
"Return to the wheel," she said to the fellow. "There is nothing to see here. Do not dally about. It is only a slave. Return to the wheel."
He did not move, but, instead, regarded me.
"You need not look upon this slave," said the woman. "She is nothing, merely another common, worthless kajira. Have you never seen enough of the legs and arms, and curves, of these shameless, vendible, collared beasts? I shall inquire into this business."
He stepped back a pace, but did not return to the wheel, on which was fastened a vessel, half-formed.
"Surely you are the Lady Delia," I said to the large woman. Kurik of Victoria, of course, had made certain inquiries.
"I am Lady Delia," she said.
"I was sure of it," I said, "for my master informed me that I might recognize you, might you be less than fully veiled, instantly, by your incredible beauty."
"Oh?" she said.
"Yes, lovely Mistress," I said.
"Well," she said, "I am a free woman."
"And surely amongst the fairest of such," I said. Free women commonly regard themselves as far more beautiful than slaves, but, if that is the case, I wondered, why are they not all in collars? Perhaps men did not want them that much. If one were truly beautiful, might she not be seized and collared? What man, honestly, does not want a beautiful woman at his feet, in his collar?
And, from the woman's point of view, how exciting to belong to a man, and be his rightless, helpless slave!
"Delineate, girl," said the Lady Delia, "your master's interests."
"Is Master," I said, to he whom I took to be Epicrates, "Master Epicrates, Master Potter of Ar?"
"That is he," said Lady Delia.
"Look at my shop," he said. "Does it appear to be the shop of a master potter? Where is the yard, the dozen ovens, the jars of pigments and glazes, the slaves and apprentices at their wheels?"
"He will not trust work to menials," said Lady Delia.
To be sure, I had no illusions as to the standing of Epicrates in his field. He was, by all accounts, a fine potter, and an honest one, but his work, as far as I knew, had never been singled out in the city, nor, say, had it been displayed in, let alone won prizes in, the exhibitions held in the great Sardar fairs. One might mention, in passing, that Goreans commonly view pottery as an art, and, in many cases, as a fine art, as much so as sculpture and painting. There are few things as beautiful as a well-formed, well-painted, well-glazed vase. Indeed, some vase artists are as well-known as artists who work in fresco, or in gold, wood, or canvas. Indeed, several artists work in more than one medium. To be sure, the Goreans do not dissociate utility and beauty in artifacts no more than in slaves. A spoon or paddle may be well carved; a door frame or chest may be a work of art. Art may be lavished on rooms and buildings, on bedding and clothing, on the saddle or harness of a kaiila, even on cuisine, in its preparation and display. But I saw little evidence in the shop of Epicrates, despite its pleasantness and attractiveness, of the higher reaches and glory of the potter's art. I saw no vessel there for which might be exchanged a dozen slaves or a tarn.
"We even rent out our second floor," said Epicrates.
"Times are hard, too, in Siba," I said.
"Speak your business, girl," said Lady Delia.
"Ela, Mistress," I said, "it has to do with the subtleties and mysteries of glazes, and the exchanges of mixtures, in varying proportions, and my master forbids me to speak to anyone but the great Epicrates, Master Potter of Ar, and to he alone."
"I am his companion," said the Lady Delia.
"I am helpless, Mistress," I said, "my master has spoken."
This pretext was not in the least far-fetched. There are, in many crafts, trade secrets, which are zealously guarded.
"Now," said Epicrates, smiling, looking down on me, "what is all this about?"
"Master?" I said.
"I have never heard of a potter, let alone a master potter, named 'Tenrik of Siba'," he said, "I doubt there is such a fellow Also, I am not a master potter, and I am no authority on pigments and glazes, at least no more than most in my caste."