Marginea black pottery, famous worldwide for its ancient burning technique

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Marginea is located in a picturesque area in Suceava County, 10 kilometers from Radauti, along Sucevita Creek. Renowned for its popular customs and traditions, sacredly kept since ancient times, but also for its skilled artisans, Marginea is valued for its respect for folk art but especially for the black ceramics produced here.

The black pottery produced at the Marginea is known internationally, mainly due to its black color obtained following an ancient burning technique. Marginea became a pottery center somewhere in the 16th century. The ceramic was mainly crafted for food storage or other purposes. Marginea had about 60 families of potters and now there are only two to three families left. Only elders still know how to spin the wheel and burn the clay vessels in the furnace, just as their ancestors. During the communist era, owning a pottery wheel was considered a crime and many craftsmen had to give up or do it secretly.

Marginea is the only place in the world where the black color is obtained without adding anything to the clay paste. Clay, the raw material, is puddled with the feet then shaped on the potter’s wheel and left to dry in the sun for a few days. The vessels are then decorated and left to dry for two more weeks, then are brushed up, polished and put to burn into the kiln at a temperature up to 800 degrees. After burning, the pots are left in the oven for 24 hours and, while cooling, the pores fill with smog, thus turning the ceramics into black. After burning, the pots are polished with stones.

The shapes of the vessels go back to ancient times: the high pot, the pot with two handles, bowls of different sizes and pots with gloves. The decorating technique is the traditional one: the pots are polished with a special river stone; the unburned grey prints on the pot will mix the metallic black. This technique is unique in the world.

In Marginea you will find Gheorghe Magopat ceramic workshop that has been visited by tourists and personalities worldwide, as well as by almost all the ambassadors accredited in Romania. At the pottery workshop you can follow the entire process of making pots using traditional techniques, starting with clay preparation and processing on the potter’s wheel, up to its drying and firing in kilns.

This is how the black ceramics became known worldwide, placing Marginea on the tourist routing in Bukovina.

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