Bucchero ware refers to the pottery produced by the, pre-Roman Italy, Etruscan civilisation. The ware is characteristically black, obtaining such colouring during firing. Potters would reduce the oxygen supply to the kiln, allowing flames to draw oxygen from the iron oxide within the clay. This process, known as reducing firing, converts the red of the clay to a dark black. A shine is often achieved on the bucchero through polishing. Most bucchero produced is for tableware purposes– used for serving, eating and/or drinking, or as storage vessels.
Southern Italy was populated by a large number of Greek colonies from the 8th century BC onwards – so much so that the Romans referred to the area as Magna Graecia – ‘Great Greece’. These Greek colonies were instrumental in bringing Greek culture and thought to Italy, greatly influencing Roman literature, philosophy, and material culture in turn. Greek pottery from Southern Italy is most characteristically defined by the glossy black finish, as seen on this vase.