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Sgraffito ware

Stacked vessels separated by tripod stilts 'Sgraffito' ware (i.e. scratched ware, due to the way the decoration was scratched into the surface) was made as follows:

  1. The vessels were shaped on a wheel.
  2. When leather-hard, they were coated in slip (a solution of light-coloured clay) and left to dry.
  3. Designs were scratched through the slip with a sharp tool, so that the lines showed through in the natural reddish-orange colour of the clay.
  4. The pots were fired for the first time.
  5. Colours, in the form of copper- and iron-oxide solution, were painted on with brushes. When fired, these produced green and brownish-yellow colours.
  6. The decorated areas of the pots were coated in a lead glaze that became transparent when fired.
  7. The pots were fired for a second time, stacked one inside the other and separated by small, tripod-like stands. These prevented the melting glaze from fusing the pots together in a sticky mass; but where they came into contact with the surface of the pot they prevented the glaze from 'taking' and inside every pot three small, unglazed circles can be seen.