The Black ceramics of Transylvania – Dacian heritage

For lovers of history and beauty, pursuing this craft in time and space can be a tremendous preoccupation. Black ceramic is a testimony of the Dacian origins. It can be seen today only in pottery workshops in Transylvania, Romania, Europe.

After modeling, the vessels follow their old road for thousands of years: they were once burned in large 1.5 m pitches, like a cone with the top up. A smaller hole was digged, communicating through a channel with the first and in which the fire was made, a fire that led to the red dye of the vessels in the big pit. At this time, the pots were covered with a thick layer of damp clay, thus climbing the channel between the two pits; burning but continuing without oxygen, the pots get the gray or black color.

This technique has been preserved until today, with some changes: the earth is brought by the potter  from edge of the village, but the pots are now burned in the oven, closed at the top and at the mouth of the fire. Fir trees sit on the walls of the workshops. Like the Dacians, the master cracked the clay with his bare hands, after he dipped it with water. He then chooses a bullet of earth, puts it on the wheel, and everything begins to turn, until the craftsman’s eyes read the satisfaction of the work done.

The shapes of the vessels are also from ancient times: the high pot, the large pot with two toes, the various sizes, the pots with gloves. The decoration technique is the traditional one: the pots are polished with a special stone, the traces of the gray on the walls of the vessel still mixed with their metallic black.

To this technique is added the use of geometrical motifs and ornaments: spirals, frank lines, fir branches. That’s how the craftsmen are here, traders and lovers of the new. A handful of people who continue to turn the wheel and burn clay pots in the furnace, like their ancestors.

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