Black-Glazed Pottery From Jordan

Black-Glazed Pottery From Jordan

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Black-Glazed Pottery From Jordan - History

Black-Glazed Ware
10th-13th centuries

Black-glazed ceramics had humble origins and most were generally inexpensive utilitarian wares used by the middle class. From the tenth through thirteenth centuries, however, a high demand for vessels with thick, brownish-black glazes spread throughout most levels of Chinese society. It is estimated that, during Sung (960-1279), more than a third of all kilns produced some form of brownish-black glazed ware and frequently imitated the black wares of each other in highly competitive markets.

Important centers of black ware production operated in both north and south China during Sung. The Chien kilns in Fukien province were famous for lustrous black wares decorated with a variety of iron rich compounds to create their fabled "hare's-fur," "partridge-feather," and "oil-spot" glazes. The Chi-chou kilns in Kiangsi produced an even greater variety of glaze techniques cleverly incorporating stencil wax resist, leaf, and splashed designs into their stoneware tea bowls. Several centers in north China, many of them Tz'u-chou kilns in Honan and Shansi, produced rich black wares enhanced with iron russet splashes "oil-spot" effects and "cut-glaze" designs.

Mud Slinging: The Legacy of South Carolina Pottery

Standing in a gallery at the South Carolina State Museum, I am surrounded by exquisitely made ceramic pots, jars and jugs.

The pieces in this exhibit were made by S.C. farmers, Catawba Indians and enslaved African Americans. These vessels once contained water, lard, vinegar and even moonshine.

Today they hold something altogether different: a glimpse into the history of South Carolina.

"It's almost awkward to put it behind glass," says Paul Methany, curator of the exhibit Tangible History: South Carolina Stoneware from the Holcombe Family Collection. "These objects were created to fulfill a need. A utilitarian object becomes a work of art."

The Mysterious L.M.

In the 1960s, the Holcombe Family began digging through Southern yards trying to find what they called "tangible history" -- everyday items that become valued treasures over time. In their search they came across broken ceramic pieces, one of which had the letters "LM" etched into it. The Holcombes were intrigued and began to investigate the curious pottery.

Their research took them to South Carolina's Edgefield County. There, as early as 1809, Abner Landrum had built a village around the production of strong, watertight stoneware.

About 1820, Landrum began experimenting with alkaline glazes for pottery to replace dangerous lead-based and expensive salt glazes. Alkaline glazing had never been used outside Asia, and it became one of the most distinctive qualities of Edgefield Pottery.

After Landrum's success, other potteries soon opened in Edgefield. Like Landrum's, they relied on the labor of slave-artisans to create their merchandise.

Methany points to a display, and I see the Holcombe's pitcher with the mysterious letters "LM."

"Lewis Miles," Methany reveals. The name was the owner of the vessel and the artisan as well. The most famous of the early Edgefied potters was named Dave, an enslaved African American.

Dave's work is special not only because of his skill and craftsmanship but because of the short poems he often inscribed in his work. His inscriptions are all the more interesting given the fact that Dave wrote them during a period when it was illegal for a slave to read or write. Today Dave's works are displayed in museums and sell for several thousand dollars apiece.

An Awareness of History

In Edgefield, I visit Old Edgefield Pottery where Steve Farrell recreates old Edgefield pottery designs. "We have a constant awareness of history," he says.

Old Edgefield Pottery is not just a place for Farrell to work he welcomes visitors into his studio daily and educates them about the pottery and the area's rich history. "We are interested in historical tourism," he says.

Farrell began as a collector of Edgefield Pottery but soon began taking pottery classes. Now he is a master potter. "There are some things out there that I wish I could go back and smash," he laments. His studios shelves are filled with original Edgefield pieces, including pieces by Dave, side by side with his own work. It is almost impossible to tell the difference - except for one particular piece.

"You never know who is going to stop by," Farrell says, lifting a cover from a large jug that has yet to be fired. There on the side of the 19th century-style jug is an unexpected, modern signature: 50 Cent. The rapper and entrepreneur stopped by the studio when he was in town filming a documentary for VH-1 called "50's Roots," in which he traces his roots back to Edgefield.

"It's More than Just Working in the Clay"

South Carolina's history in clay actually goes back far beyond the 1800s. The pottery of the Catawba Indians is part of the tribe's culture that has been passed down through the generations for over 4,000 years. "It is the oldest traditional form of art east of the Mississippi," Methany says.

Catawba pottery techniques differ from that of Edgefield pottery. While Edgefield pottery is spun on a wheel, Catawba pottery is formed on a lap desk from long coils of clay. Rather than being fired in the high temperatures of a kiln, the Catawba fire their pottery at much lower temperatures. Catawba pottery is never glazed or painted. It is rubbed with river rocks, which gives the pottery a sheen.

For the Catawba Indians, their pottery is part of a greater effort to preserve the Catawba nation's cultural heritage.

"It is more than just working in the clay," says Beckee Garris, a Catawba potter and the tribe's traditional medicine woman. "Catawba pottery has been and continues to be the life blood of our people. It connects us to our ancestors through the clay. The sweat from their labors of digging the clay now mixes with the present potters when we dig. . Just as our sweat will be mixed in with future potters. So you are not just purchasing a clay vessel, you are purchasing a piece of our past, our present and our future."

The Catawba Cultural Center in Rock Hill is a great place to get to know more about Catawba pottery and to see some of the work of the Catawba nation's most celebrated potters.

Also, the work of famed Catawba potter Georgia Henrietta Harris is on display in a fascinating exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art. The exhibit, SC6: Six South Carolina Innovators in Clay, celebrates the work of six distinguished ceramic artists who have been active in South Carolina. Harris, who is largely credited with reviving the Catawba pottery tradition in the 1970s with her graceful snake pot effigy vessels and elegant long-necked pitchers, is only person to win an NEA National Heritage Fellowship posthumously.

Exploding Tradition

One of the other artists featured in the SC6 exhibit is Peter Lenzo, a former professor of ceramics at the University of South Carolina who turns the old Edgefield Pottery tradition of face jugs on its head.

Traditional face jugs are just that: small jugs with a face molded into the side. Old Edgefield pottery face jugs were fairly simple, and their faces usually had exaggerated, comic features.

Inspired by Edgefield face jugs, Lenzo began to experiment with creating his own. One day, Lenzo's son, Joe, was playing in the studio and stuck a piece of one of his toys right in the middle of the face of wet clay. Something clicked for Lenzo, and since then he has been creating face jugs that explode with found objects: shards of pottery, toys, and in one of the works on in SC6, the remains of a deceased friend.

Back at the S.C. State Museum, Methany shows me one of Lenzo's works with a small ceramic bird on top of a jug. "That was from the dollar store," he says.

Including these objects is dangerous they, too, have to survive the firing process. "It's like it shouldn't be able to be made," Methany marvels.

Today modern artists continue the legacy of S.C. pottery. At places like the Southern Pottery Workcenter and Gallery in Columbia and the Rock Hill Pottery Center, ceramic artists create their own original designs and teach the craft of pottery, connecting a new generation of South Carolinian artists to the rich Carolina clay and finding power and inspiration in the state's tangible history.

Your Guide to South Carolina Pottery:

The South Carolina State Museum, 301 Gervais St., Columbia, (803) 898-4921. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and $3 for children ages 3-12. Children 2 and younger are free. The exhibit Tangible History: South Carolina Stoneware from the Holcombe Family Collection runs through December. While you are there, make sure to see the Dave pot on permanent exhibit. Visit for more information.

Columbia Museum of Art, 1515 Main St., Columbia, (803) 799-2810. The museum is open Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students and $8 for seniors and military. Sunday admission is free, courtesy of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. The exhibit S6: Six South Carolina Innovators in Clay runs through October 3. See

Old Edgefield Pottery, 230 Simkins St., Edgefield, (803) 637-2060. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit Steve Farrell's studio and learn about the history of Edgefield Pottery and the Heritage Corridor.

Catawba Cultural Center, 1536 Tom Stevens Road, Rock Hill, (803) 328-2427. Open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Offers exhibits on Catawba pottery, works by master potter Earl Robbins, among others, and a crafts store where you can buy pottery.

Southern Pottery Workcenter and Gallery, 3105 Devine St., Columbia, (803) 251-3001. The gallery showcases pottery from South Carolina and beyond. It also has a collection of Peter Lenzo work and offers pottery classes for all ages. See

Rock Hill Pottery Center, 201 E. Main St., Rock Hill, (803) 980-3888. Artists are given subsidized studio space in exchange for educating the public about their work and their unusual space in the old Federal Building. It's a great chance to get a peek inside a potter's studio and buy works directly from the artist. Gallery Up upstairs has work for sale by craftsmen from across the country.

Cherokee Potters Guild

The Cherokee Potters Guild is dedicated to preserving, teaching, and researching traditional Cherokee stamped pottery. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has the longest continuing pottery tradition on their own land of any tribe in the United States, going back three thousand years. Members of the guild do demonstrations, exhibit their work, and teach hands-on workshops.

The guild began in January 2003 following a series of workshops at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. Its members include: Amanda Swimmer, Davy Arch, Josh Dugan, Bernadine George, Denise George, Betty Maney, Melissa Maney, Shirley Oswalt, Joel Queen, Dean Reed, Alyne Stamper, Don Swimmer, Mary Ann Thompson.

Cherokee pottery is hand built, thin-walled, waterproof, and stamped with wooden paddles that create rectilinear and curvilinear designs. It is not glazed, but sometimes burnished or covered with slip. Pots are fired in an open fire that imparts mottled smoke patterns. Shapes include large and small cooking pots, serving bowls, water bottles, and effigy pots.

The Cherokee Potters Guild has been supported by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, and the North Carolina Arts Council, with research assistance from the Research Labs of Archaeology at UNC-Chapel Hill. Master ceramicist Tamara Beane, an expert on Southeastern pottery, has also worked with the group.

Cherokee Potters Guild members have demonstrated at the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife, Schemetzun Powwow at Foxwoods Casino, Ocmulgee National Monument Festival, Stone Mountain Park, Cherokee Voices Festival, Cherokee Fall Fair, Dollywood, UNC-Chapel Hill, Highlands Handicraft Guild Fair, the Southeastern Archaeology Conference, and elsewhere. They have taught classes and workshops throughout the Cherokee communities of Western North Carolina, at Western Carolina University, Warren Wilson College, and for the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.


Potters are available to demonstrate, participate in exhibits, and teach hands-on classes. Their fees must include expenses for traveling and lodging. A materials fee will also be required. They can work with large or small groups of any age.

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Black-Glazed Pottery From Jordan - History

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Attic Black-Glazed Pottery from Exposition of Mykolaiv Regional Museum of Local History ‘Staroflotski Kazarmy’

Attic black-glazed pottery always attracts the attention of researchers with its elegant shapes, the exquisite ornamentation, and coating quality. This category of the material belongs to the ceremonial tableware. These finds are quite numerous and could be found not only in ancient settlements but also in the necropoleis of ancient cities, so they should be attributed to the mass material. This pottery was imported from Attica to the Northern Black Sea region for centuries, and during that time it became one of the most important categories of imports to the region.

The exposition of Mykolaiv Regional Museum of Local History has a demonstrative numerous collection of antique materials of different times. The materials from Olbia polis and its outskirts are exhibited here as well. These are cult and everyday life objects, glassware, metal products, and of course – pottery, including Attic black-glazed pottery.

The eighteen items from the exhibition have been analyzed in this paper. These are small bowls and salt cellars, kantharos, three skyphoi, one plate, one mug, askos, four cups of different types, and oinochoe. These forms were found on the territory of Olbia polis in different years – from 1920 to 1994 in various sections of excavations, mostly in the necropoleis of the ancient settlement. The collection of Attic pottery chronologically covers the period from 525 to 325 BCE and shows the main stages of Attic black-glazed pottery of Classical period development.

The Attic collection of black-glazed pottery exhibited in Mykolaiv Regional Museum of Local History is representative. The exposition has both popular forms, common among finds from other ancient cities and settlements, and unique rare exhibits, which are extremely rare even among the items from Great Greece. Mentioned forms have direct or indirect analogies among the materials from the ancient agora of Athens and the finds of Attic black-glazed pottery from other cities of the Northern Black Sea region, and this fact once again confirms the active trade relations of Olbia with Athens.

A detailed analysis of the collection may have practical importance in the future while studying other collections from both Olbia and other cities of the Northern Black Sea region. Detailed drawings of the pottery, specifying the size, type of ornamentation, quality of black-glazed coating, together with selected analogies from other sites and ware dating make this collection a good attributive material for determining the chronology and dating of other complexes and ancient sites in the region.


Alekseeva, E.M. (1997). Antichnyi gorod Gorgippiya [Antic city of Gorgippia]. Moskva [in Russian].

Alexandrescu, P. (1966). La necropole tumulaire (Fouilles 1955-1961). In Histria, II. Bucuresti: Academiei Republici Socialiste Romania [in French].

Alexandrescu, P. (1978). Le ceramique d’epoqye archaique et classique (VII-IV s.) In Histria, IV. Bucuresti: Academiei Republici Socialiste Romania [in French].

Belov, H.D. (1938). Otchet o raskopkakh v Khersonese za 1935-1936 gg. [Report for the excavation in Chersonesos in 1935-1936]. Sevastopol: Krym [in Russian].

Bielefeld, E. (1959). Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. Deutschland, 18, 2. Berlin [in German].

Blonde, F. (2007). Les ceramique d’usage quotidian a Thasos au IV siècle avant J.-C. Fascicule 2. Planches. Paris: De Boccard Edition-Diffusion [in French].

Bozhkova, A. (2008). Chernofirnisovi chashchi s visok krak ot klasicheskata epokha ot Blgariya [Black-glazed stemmed cups from the classic period from Bulgaria]. In Yugoiztochna Evropa prez antychnosti, (pp. 114-118). Sofia [In Bulgarian].

Brashinskii, I.B. (1980). Grecheskii keramicheskii import na Nizhnem Donu v V-III vv. do n.e. [Greek pottery import to the Lower Danube in V-III BC]. Leningrad: Nauka [in Russian].

Braunova, D., Cadic, J. & Dufkova, M. (2000). Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. République Tchéque. Pilsen, Musée de la Boheme de l’Ouest. Pilsen Prague: Západočeské muzeum v Plzni [in French].

Butiagin, A.M., Chistov, D.E. (2005). Novyi kompleks IV v. do n.e. iz Mirmekiia [New complex of IV BC from Mirmekey]. Bosporskie issledovaniia, 8, 131-152 [in Russian].

Chistov, D.E. (2003). Itogi rabot na uchastke N (1994-1998) [Results of the work at the plot «N» (1994-1998)]. Materialy Nimfeiskoi ekspeditsii, 1, 3-41 [in Russian].

Danilchenko, S.A. (2000). Chernolakovaia atticheskaia keramika poseleniia Kozyrka II [Attic Black-glazed pottery from the settlement Kozyrka-II]. In ΣΥΣΣΤΙΑ. Sbornik statei pamiati Yu.V. Andreeva (pp. 217-222). Sankt-Peterburg: Aleteiia [in Russian].

Danilchenko, S.A. (2002). Chernolakovaia keramika iz nimfeiskogo sviatilishcha Demetry [Black-glazed pottery from the Demetra sanctuary in Nimfey]. In Bosporskii fenomen: Pogrebalnyie pamiatniki i sviatilishcha, 1, pp. 121-129 [in Russian].

Egorova, T.V. (2003) Chernolakovaia keramika iz antichnykh usadeb u Evpatoriyskogo maiaka [Black-glazed pottery from Antic homestead near Eupatoria’s lighthouse]. Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta, 8, № 4, 81-99 [in Russian].

Egorova, T.E. (2009). Chernolakovaia keramika IV-II vv. do n.e. s pamiatnikov Severo-Zapadnogo Kryma [Black-glazed Pottery IV-II Centuries BC from the North-Western Crimea]. Moskva [in Russian].

Egorova, T.E. (2014). Predvaritelnyi analiz kompleksa chernolakovoi keramiki VI-II vv. do n.e. iz raskopok Pantikapeia. 1945-1992 gg. [Preliminary Analysis of the Complex of Black and White Ceramics from the 6th – 2nd centuries BC from the Excavations of Panticapaeum. 1945-1992]. Drevnosti Bospora, 18, 174-195 [in Russian].

Egorova, T.E. (2015). Chernolakovaia keramika V-IV vv. do n.e. s procherchennym i shtampovannym ornamentom iz raskopok Pantikapeia [Black-glazed Pottery V-IV Centuries BC With Stamped Ornament from the Excavation of Pantikapeum]. In S Mitridata duet veter. Bospor i Prichernomorie v antichnosti. K 70-letiiu V.P. Tolstikova, (pp. 63-68). Moskva [in Russian].

Egorova, T.V. (2017). Antichnaia chernolakovaia keramika iz sobraniia Gosudarstvennogo muzeia izobrazitelnykh iskusstv imeni A.S. Pushkina [Antic black-glazed pottery from the collection of The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts]. Moskva: NP-Print [in Russian].

Grach, N.L. (1999). Nekropol Nimfeia [Necropolis of Nimfey]. Sankt-Peterburg: Nauka [in Russian].

Handberg, S. & Peterson, J.H. (2010). Black-glossed pottery. In The Lower City of Olbia (Sector NGS) in the 6th Century BC to the 4th Century A.D. (pp. 187-196). Aаrchus: Aarhus University Press [in English].

Ivanov, T. (1963). Antichnaya keramika iz nekropolya Apollonii [Antic pottery from necropolis of Apolonia]. In Apolonia. Razkopite v nekropola na Apolonia prez 1947-1947 g. (pp. 65-269). Sofia: Balgarska akademia na naukite [in Bulgarian].

Knige, U. (1976). Kerameikos. Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen. Band IX, Der Südhügel. Berlin [in German].

Kozub, Yu.I. (1974). Nekropol Olvii V-IV st. do n.e. [Necropolis of Olbia V-IV BC]. Kyiv: Naukova dumka [in Russian].

Kozub, Yu.I. (1979). Peredmistia Olvii [Suburb of Olbia]. Arkheolohia, 29, 3-34 [in Ukrainian].

Kunze-Götte, E., Tancke, K. & Vierneisel, K. (1999). Die Nekropole von der Mitte des 6. bis zum Ende des 5. Jahrhunderts: die Beigaben, Kerameikos. Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen VII.2. München [in German].

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Geographically, the West Bank is mostly composed of north-south–oriented limestone hills (conventionally called the Samarian Hills north of Jerusalem and the Judaean Hills south of Jerusalem) having an average height of 2,300 to 3,000 feet (700 to 900 metres). The hills descend eastwardly to the low-lying Great Rift Valley of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. The West Bank does not lie entirely within the drainage system of the Jordan River, as elevated areas in the west give rise to the headwaters of streams flowing westward to the Mediterranean Sea.

Annual rainfall of more than 27 inches (685 mm) occurs in the most highly elevated areas in the northwest and declines in the southwest and southeast, along the Dead Sea, to less than 4 inches (100 mm). Widely variable land-use patterns are dictated by the availability of water. Relatively well-watered nonirrigated terrain in the hills (especially those of Samaria) is used for the grazing of sheep and the cultivation of cereals, olives, and fruits such as melons. Irrigated land in the hills and the Jordan River valley is intensively cultivated for assorted fruits and vegetables.

The industrial development of the West Bank was never strong during the Jordanian period, and by the mid-1960s there were less than a dozen industrial establishments with more than 30 employees in the area. Israeli occupation resulted in constraints on West Bank industrial development investment capital remained scarce both in the West Bank and Gaza, and only the transportation infrastructure saw much improvement after 1967. This improvement occurred mostly for military reasons, although it also benefited agriculture by facilitating the supply and servicing of markets.

The principal Palestinian municipalities of the West Bank are Janīn, Nāblus, and Ramallah north of Jerusalem and Bethlehem (Bayt Laḥm) and Hebron (Al-Khalīl) south of Jerusalem. Jericho (Arīḥā) is the chief municipality of the Jordan River valley. Several small universities on the West Bank (founded or attaining university status in the 1970s) enroll mostly Palestinian students.

Many Palestinians were displaced after the 1948 and 1967 wars. About 300,000 Palestinians (most of whom were originally from territory captured by Israel in 1948) left the impoverished West Bank for Transjordan (later Jordan) during the year after the 1948 war and about 380,000 Palestinians fled the West Bank after it was captured by the Israelis in 1967. Between 1967 and 1977 an estimated 6,300 Palestinians were evicted from East Jerusalem and replaced by Jewish immigrants, and many others lost their residency rights under the 1992–96 government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

This Day in Pottery History

There was a conversation between two 19th century redware potters that never actually happened. Their little ‘chat’ was just a letter to a friend and a newspaper ad written in two different states several decades apart.

Norman Judd worked in Rome, NY starting in 1814. Rome was a frontier boom town at the time, catering to fortune seekers on their way to the Western Reserve (preset day Ohio). In such a place people cared only about cheap, instant access to the necessities of life. Anyone willing to mass produce tableware could make a quick buck. Bennington trained Judd was just the guy for the job. He described his life to a friend:

“We make Earthenware fast – have burned 8 kilns since the 8th of last May – amtg to $1500 – Ware here is ready cash. It is now 8 o’clock at night, I have just done turning bowls – I rest across my mould bench while writing – no wonder if I do make wild shots…”

James Grier faced a very different situation. When he started his Mount Jordan Pottery in Oxford, PA in 1828, the competition was fierce and growing fiercer. Grier, and his son Ralph who took over the shop in 1837, followed the (by then) common path of advertising their talents in local newspapers to set themselves apart from the crowd. Most 19th century pottery ad language tended to the ‘best there ever was’ sort of hyperbole. But Ralph Grier took a slightly different tack. An 1868 notice in the “Oxford Press” read:

“EARTHENWARE of all kinds of the very best quality. No poor ware ‘cracked up’ and foisted upon the public.”

What potter has not at one time or another teetered into the depths of the chasm exposed between these two sentiments?

American Redware. William Ketchum Jr. Holt & Co./Ney York. 1991.

Current State of Palestine

Palestinians are still fighting for an official state that’s formally recognized by all countries.

Although Palestinians occupy key areas of land, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, some Israelis, with their government&aposs blessing,਌ontinue to settle inਊreas that are generally agreed to be under Palestinian control. Many international rights groups consider such settlements illegal, the borders aren’t clearly defined, and persistent conflict continues to be the norm.ਊ substantial proportion of Israelis also oppose the settlements and would prefer to find peaceful ways to resolve their land disputes with the Palestinians.

In May 2017, leaders of Hamas presented a document that proposed the formation of a Palestinian state using the 1967 defined borders, with Jerusalem as its capital. However, the group refused to recognize Israel as a state, and the Israeli government promptly rejected the plan.

In May 2018, tensions erupted when the U.S. Embassy relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Perceiving this as signal of American support for Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Palestinians responded with protests at the Gaza-Israel border, which were met with Israeli force resulting in the deaths of dozens of protesters. 

While so much of Palestine’s history has involved bloodshed, displacement, and instability, many world leaders continue to work toward a resolution that will result in peace throughout the region.