Indeed, there were some level of independent civilization in precolonial igboland which served the needs of the people before the British incursion, ranging from the famous awka blacksmithers that travelled beyond igbo borders as Itinerant smiths,making basic farming implements and knifes, to cotton production and then pottery making.
According to anthropologist G.T Basden who has lived among the igbos for many years(among the ibos of Nigeria),first published his findings in 1921,he noted that in most parts of the lbo(igbo) country native cotton is cultivated,. The fluffy raw cotton is cleansed by fingering and by threshing with a bow string. It is then spun by means of a bobbin which revolves by its Own weight after being started with a sharp twist between thumb and finger. By constant practice the women are able to impart so great an impetus to the bobbin that it spins at such a rate as to appear stationary. Spinning is done whenever the operator finds herself free from domestic affairs.
Certain arts and craft are in the hands of women,the most important of these is pottery making, spinning, weaving, basket work and grass plaiting. Earthen pottery is usually carried out by skilled women in the art.The pottery is usually limited to vessels designed for utilitarian purposes. The clay is dug, puddled, and is then ready for the potter. The greatest demand is naturally for water-pots ; these may be of any size, but those in common use are from fifteen to eighteen inches in height and about the same in diameter. The ware is rubbed down until it is less than one quarter of an inch in thickness. The pots are used exclusively almost for fetching water, and for steeping raw cassava roots. There is also a fair demand for pots of decanter shape for the collection and storing of palm wine. These may be plain or decorated, all black or of terra-cotta colour, relieved with white. The white markings soon perish as they are applied after baking.
Other vessels are manufactured, such as bowls and cooking pots, the former being, perhaps, the best finished of all the pottery, and the latter the most primitive and inartistic. Some of the bowls are of good work- manship, being moulded in relief and finished outside with black polish and inside with beautifully rubbed terra- cotta.
All the pottery is burnt directly by fire.The art of pottery making was a natural diffusion from the earliest pottery sites at Afikpo which was dated to 3000BC.
Photo:Gt.Basden.among the ibos of Nigeria,before 1921.