Etruscan Bucchero-ware Kantharos: 6th century BC

Bucchero-ware Kantharos

Etruscan Bucchero-ware Kantharos : 6th century BC

The Etruscans copied most of their pottery designs from Greece but the Kantharos two-handled cup was an Etruscan shape which the Greeks later adopted. Bucchero ware is considered the national pottery of Etruria. It is not a glaze: the black colour was produced by closing the vent holes in the kiln, forming a reducing atmosphere which took the oxygen out of the red iron oxide in the clay. The clay become black right through. A similar technique may have produced some early bronze age wares (eg the black and red/black polished ware in Cyprus and Yortan (Troy). This is a fairly early and unusually crude and lopsided example: normally Bucchero ware is extremely refined and very thin-walled. (I actually propped it under one edge for this photo to make it look level. It was a disappointment but not, I think, a fake (nobody would make a fake this crude). Might it have been made by a young child,  perhaps the child of the potter, and subsequently put into his tomb (or the tomb of his mother)? Since reading "Learning to make pottery: a look at how novices became potters in Middle Bronze Age Cyprus" a paper by Laura A Gagné  I am now convinced of it. Perhaps I should re-photograph it more honestly.                                           


Size: 11cm H

(Aquired Ancient Art 2013)