This plate is part of the porteries crafted by Sezinando Fernandes Ramalho, probably the last potter to use the ancestral technique of making black pottery from Bisalhães.
The originality of this pottery lies in its color, which can vary from coal black to dark gray. This coloring is obtained naturally by firing in the open air, in a fire of wood, grass and damp earth. More than an object, this plate is a part of the Portuguese heritage, considered today as world heritage to be safeguarded, by UNESCO.
Why I love it
- A part of the Portuguese heritage recognized by UNESCO.
- A unique object and an ancestral technique.
- A functional plate that can be used in an oven.
- Width: 16 cm approximately
- Height: 3 cm approximately
- Weight: 400 g approximately
Black pottery is made in several stages. First, the clay is crushed with a wooden hammer in a stone vat before being sifted, added water, kneaded, shaped, smoothed with pebbles and decorated with a stick.
The firing is always done in the heart of the village of Bisalhães, in a community oven, built in the open air. The potteries are placed on the ground, covered with wet earth and herbs, and finally with wood that is set on fire.
The slow firing process gives the pottery its special appearance and also its solidity. Passed on almost exclusively through family ties, the future of this practice seems threatened today because of the disappearance of the holders of the know-how.
If you want to know more about this manufacturing process, go to our blog and read our article on the black pottery of Bisalhães.